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The 
French  Classical  Romances 

Complete  in  Twenty  Crown  Octavo  Volumes 
Editor-in- Chiet 

EDMUND    GOSSE,    LL.D. 

With  Critical  Introductions  and  Interpretative  Essays  by 

HENRY    JAMES  PROF.    RICHARD    BURTON  HENRY    HARLAND 

ANDREW    LANG  PROF.    F.    C.    DE     SUMICHRAST 

THE     EARL     OF    CREWE  HIS    EXCELLENCY     M.    CAMBON 

PROF.    WM.    P.    TRENT  ARTHUR    SYMONS  MAURICE     HEWLETT 

DR.    JAMES     FITZMAURICE-KELLY  RICHARD     MANSFIELD 

BOOTH     TARKINGTON  DR.    RICHARD     GARNETT 

PROF.    WILLIAM     M.    SLOANE  JOHN    OLIVER     HOBBES 


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(fU^ 


VICTOR    HUGO 


Notre  Dame 
de  Paris 


TRANSLATED    FROM    THE    FRENCH 
BY    JESSIE    HAYNES 

WITH    A    CRITICAL    INTRODUCTION 
BY    ANDREW    LANG 

A     FRONTISPIECE      AND      NUMEROUS 

OTHER       PORTRAITS       WITH 

DESCRIPTIVE   NOTES  BY 

OCTAVE     UZANNE 


P.  F.  COLLIER    (V   SON 
NEW    YORK 


COPYRIGHT,    1902 
BY    D.    APPtETON    k.    COMPANY 


VICTOR   HUGO'S   NOVELS 


Perhaps  only  two  great  poets  have  been  great  novel- 
ists, Sir  Walter  Scott  and  Victor  Hugo.  If  any  one  likes 
to  say  that  Scott  is  a  great  novelist,  but  only  a  consider- 
able poet,  I  fear  I  might  be  tempted  to  retort,  quite 
unjustly,  that  Hugo  is  a  great  poet,  but  only  a  consid- 
erable novelist.  However,  I  am  unwilling  to  draw  invidi- 
ous distinctions.  In  all  Hugo's  vast  volume  of  work, 
poetry,  satire,  fiction,  the  drama,  I  am  inclined  to  think 
that  his  lyrics  have  most  of  the  stuff  of  immortality: 
imperishable  charm.  In  his  lyrics  he  is  most  human, 
most  "like  a  man  of  this  world";  or,  what  is  as  good, 
an  angel  "  singing  out  of  heaven."  In  his  dramas,  and 
still  more  in  his  novels,  on  the  other  hand,  he  is  less 
human  than  "Titanic."  He  is  a  good  Titan,  like  Pro- 
metheus, tortured  by  the  sense  of  human  miseries,  and 
uttering  his  laments  as  if  from  the  crest  of  a  gorge  in 
Caucasus.  Hugo's  poignant  sense  of  the  wretchedness 
of  men,  above  all  of  the  poor,  is  not  unfelt  by  Scott; 
but  how  does  he  express  it?  In  the  brief  words  of 
Sanders  Mucklebackit,  as  he  patches  the  "  auld  black  bitch 
o'  a  boat,"  in  which  his  son  has  just  been  drowned. 
Again,  and  more  terribly,  he  gives  voice  to  the  degrada- 
tion, the  consuming  envy,  the  hatred  of  the  mauvais 
pauvre,  in  the  talk  of  the  ghoul-like  attendants  of  the 
dead,  the  hags  and  the  witch  of  Tlie  Bride  of  Lammer- 
moor.  Human  beings  speak  as  human  beings — in  the 
A  V  Vol.  4 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

second  case,  almost  as  devils — but  these  scenes  are  sel- 
dom presented  in  the  happy  stoical  pages  of  Sir  Walter. 
A  favourite  motive  of  Hugo's  is  the  maternal  passion  of 
a  woman  otherwise  socially  lost — Paquerette  or  Fantine. 
Her  child  is  taken  from  her,  and  we  all  weep,  or  nearly 
weep,  with  those  unhappy  ones.  But  the  idea  had  also 
been  handled  by  Scott,  in  the  story  of  Madge  Wildfire, 
distraught  like  Paquerette.  "  Naebody  kens  weel  wha's 
living,  and  wha's  dead — or  wha's  gane  to  Fairyland — 
there's  another  question.  Whiles  I  think  my  puir  bairn's 
dead — ye  ken  very  weel  it's  buried — but  that  signifies 
naething.  I  have  had  it  on  my  knee  a  hundred  times, 
and  a  hundred  till  that,  since  it  was  buried — and  how  could 
that  be  were  it  dead,  ye  ken."  Madge  with  her  wild 
chants  is  not  less  poetical  than  Fantine,  to  whose  sor- 
rows Hugo  adds  a  poignancy  and  a  grotesque  horror 
which  Scott  had  it  not  in  his  heart  to  inflict. 

Hugo's  novels,  especially  Les  Miserables,  U Homme 
Qui  Rit,  and  parts  of  Notre-Dame  de  Paris,  are  the  shrill 
or  thunderous  otototofoi's  of  the  tortured  Titan.  They  are 
apocalyptic  in  grandeur,  but  they  are  grand  with  little 
relief,  or  with  the  relief  of  what  may  appear  too  conscious 
and  extreme  contrast.  The  charm,  the  gaiety,  the  innu- 
merable moods  that  make  music  throughout  his  lyrics 
are  less  common  in  his  novels.  If  there  is  relief,  it  is 
poignant  in  the  pathos  of  childhood,  or  contemptible,  as 
in  the  empty-headed  Phoebus  de  Chateaupers,  or  the  noisy 
students  of  Notre-Dame  de  Paris. 

Scott  sees  the  world  of  sunshine  and  of  rain,  green 
wood,,  and  loch  and  moor,  and  blowing  fields  of  corn. 
Hugo  beholds  the  world  as  if  in  the  flashes  of  lightning 
and  the  pauses  of  the  tempest.  He  sees  everything  mag- 
nified "  larger  than  human,"  and  he  is  Titanically  deficient 
in  the  sweet  humour  of  Shakespeare  and  Fielding,  Dumas, 

vi 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

and  Moliere.  Thus  unfriendly  critics,  and  of  these  he 
has  had  no  lack,  might  style  his  novels  gigantesque,  rather 
than  great.  His  humpbacked,  bell-ringing  dwarf  is  like  a 
colossal  statue  of  the  cruel  Dwarf-God,  found  in  Yucatan 
or  old  Anahuac.  Quasimodo  is,  in  some  regards,  like 
Quilp  seen  through  an  enormous  magnifying  glass,  and 
Quilp  himself  was  sufficiently  exaggerated.  Had  ^schy- 
lus  written  novels,  they  would  have  been  tame  and  creep- 
ing compared  to  those  of  Hugo.  Yet  he  is  not  a  mere 
exaggerator,  one  of  the  popular  demoniacs  who  work  as 
if  in  the  flare  and  roar  of  a  boiler-factory.  He  is  a  great 
genius,  full  of  tenderness  and  poetry.  To  be  superhuman 
is  his  foible.  I  used  the  comparison  with  ^schylus,  while 
unaware  that  Hugo  (who  certainly  knew  his  own  merits 
fairly  well)  had  used  it  himself.  "It  is  no  vain  vaunt  of 
the  modern  masters,"  says  Mr.  Swinburne,  "  that  he  has 
given  us  in  another  guise  one  of  these  ^schylean  women, 
a  monstrous  goddess,  whose  tone  of  voice  '  gave  a  sort 
of  Promethean  grandeur  to  her  furious  and  amorous 
words,'  who  had  in  her  the  tragic  and  Titanic  passion 
of  the  women  of  the  Eleusinian  feasts  '  seeking  the 
satyrs  under  the  stars.'  "  All  the  mythologist  awakes  in 
me,  to  inquire  on  what  ancient  authority  the  women  of 
Athens  are  said  to  have  misconducted  themselves  with 
satyrs  at  Eleusis?  Josiane,  in  Hugo's  U Homme  Qui  Rit, 
is  a  lady  of  that  sort,  but  I  do  not  remember  her  Eleusinian 
prototypes  in  Lobeck's  Aglaophanus,  and  I  am  inclined  to 
think  that  Hugo  invented  this  interesting  detail. 

Victor  Hugo  was  the  son  of  a  revolutionary  ofificer 
and  a  lady  of  a  bourgeois  royalist  family.  He  wished  to 
think  himself  "  noble,"  and  everybody  who  has  looked 
into  genealogy  knows  that  we  can  easily  persuade  our- 
selves of  our  own  noblesse.  The  world  is  less  easily  per- 
suaded.    King  Joseph,  at  all  events,  made  Hugo's  father 

vii 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

as  much  of  a  Spanish  noble  as  Napoleon  could  make 
Joseph  a  king,  and  he  was  put  to  a  monkish  school  in 
Madrid  among  little  mortal  Spanish  enemies.  He  and 
his  mother  retreated  before  Wellesley  to  France.  His 
education  was  much  more  royalist  than  Christian:  as  he 
matured  he  became  much  more  Christian  than  royalist, 
and,  at  last,  a  revolutionary.  When  Hugo  left  school, 
he  had  written  abundant  verse  as  a  school-boy,  and  had 
even  been  honourably  mentioned  for  an  Academy  prize 
poem.  Chateaubriand  was  then  his  model,  Chateaubriand 
of  the  sonorous  and  sepulchral  eloquence.  Other  prize 
poems  he  actually  won,  and  he  and  his  brother  edited  a 
literary  journal  when  at  an  age  still  tender.  His  Odes 
(1822)  are  still  in  what  he  came  to  think  the  gall  of 
classicaUsm.  His  marriage  occurred  in  the  year  of  this,  his 
first  book. 

Not  classical  is  the  hero  of  his  Han  d'Islande  (1823), 
a  kind  of  Icelandic  Sawny  Bean.  •  Hugo  had  already 
perused  The  Tales  of  My  Landlord  (in  French,  of  course), 
and  already  in  Han  dTslande  was  dipped  deeper  in  the 
horrid  than  Scott  became  in  the  decrepitude  of  Castle 
Dangerous.  Few  readers  now  imbrue  themselves  in 
blood,  with  Han;  but  the  author,  perhaps,  was  not  in 
earnest.  His  last  chapter  is  headed  Ce  que  f avals  fait 
par  plaisanterie,  vous  Vavez  pris  serieusement.  We  need 
not  take  Han  seriously:  still  his  horrors  portend  Quasi- 
modo and  later  monsters  of  the  poet's  fancy.  As  lightly 
we  may  pass  the  sable  hero  (who  would  have  horrified 
Rymer)  of  Bug  Jar  gal  (1826).  There  is  in  this  tale  a 
strongly  built  hunchbacked  character  foreshadowing 
Quasimodo. 

Hugo's  ambition  was  now  to  improve  on  Scott,  by 
adding  to  that  novelist's  manner  an  element  of  the  poetic, 
of  Homer.     As  regards  poetry,  it  is  hard  to  excel  the 

viii 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

creator  of  Madge  Wildfire,  the  painter  of  Queen  Mary. 
We  need  not  recapitulate  the  old  history  of  the  French 
Romantic  movement.  Hugo  was  a  leader  of  that  fertile 
and  eccentric  renaissance — a  leader  by  virtue  of  his  lyrics 
and  his  plays.  The  names  and  parts  of  Musset,  Gautier, 
Sainte-Beuve,  and  the  great  Alexandre  Dumas;  the  war 
over  Hugo's  play,  Hernani,  are  among  the  things  most 
familiar  and  most  amusing  in  the  history  of  literature. 

In  1829,  in  Le  Dernier  Jour  d'nn  Condamnc,  Hugo 
expressed  his  lifelong  and  oft-repeated  horror  of  capital 
punishment.  The  hero  may  well  say,  with  De  Quincey: 
"  Many  a  man  owes  his  ruin  to  a  murder  of  which,  per- 
haps, he  thought  little  enough  at  the  time."  But  the 
repugnant  necessity  of  capital  punishment  is  allowed  to 
exist,  just  to  make  amiable  and  impulsive  characters  think 
a  good  deal  of  a  murder  "  at  the  time,"  or  rather,  before 
the  time.  Hugo  was  moved  by  the  most  sincere  human- 
ity; but  others  are  not  inhuman  because  they  are  inter- 
ested rather  in  the  possible  victims  of  the  criminal  than 
in  the  criminal  himself. 

After  the  Lilies  were  driven  from  France  in  the  days 
of  July,  1830,  Hugo  wrote,  at  a  great  pace,  his  first  fa- 
mous novel,  Nofre-Dame  de  Paris.  There  was  need  of 
hurry,  owing  to  an  imprudent  covenant  to  deliver  the 
"  copy "  by  a  given  date.  For  some  five  months  the 
author  was  a  recluse,  working  all  day.  Possibly  he  had 
to  "  read  up  his  subject  "  as  well  as  to  write.  The  traces 
of  "  reading  up  "  historical  and  antiquarian  details  for  his 
purpose  are,  I  think,  apparent.  In  several  of  his  novels 
he  is  too  apt  to  fortify  his  position  by  historical  citations. 
His  knowledge  of  old  Paris  and  its  architecture  was,  how- 
ever, already  acquired.  His  indignation  at  "  improve- 
ment," scraping,  whitewash,  restoration,  and  the  other 
crimes  of  our  age,  is  constantly  uttered:  vainly,  such  iso- 

ix 


Victor  Hugo's   Novels 

lated  protests  are  always  vain.  At  Oxford,  St.  Andrews, 
and  Cambridge,  as  in  Paris,  we  see  what  the  ignorant 
indifference  of  even  learned  corporations,  and  the  bland 
stupidity  of  modern  architects  can  do,  and  hungers  to  be 
doing,  on  whatever  relics  of  the  old  and  the  beautiful  are 
yet  undestroyed. 

Hugo  began  Notre-Damc,  in  the  circumstances  natu- 
rally, with  dogged  and  gloomy  desire  to  finish  a  task. 
This  it  may  be  which  renders  the  initial  chapters,  the 
vast  descriptions  of  people,  crowds,  street  scenes,  ambas- 
sadors, the  Cardinal,  and  the  rest,  rather  prolix.  But  when 
once  Esmeralda,  Claude  Frollo,  and  Quasimodo  appear, 
the  story  races  on.  Gringoire,  the  typical  poet,  concen- 
trated in  the  fiasco  of  his  own  play,  while  every  other 
person  is  more  than  indifferent,  has  humour  and  is  sympa- 
thetic. But  Gringoire  following  Esmeralda  and  her  goat; 
Quasimodo  divinized  in  burlesque,  a  Pope  of  Unreason, 
yet  tickled,  for  once,  in  his  vanity;  Esmeralda,  a  pearl  on  the 
dunghill,  dancing  and  singing;  the  empty,  easily  conquer- 
ing Phoebus;  the  mad  and  cruel  love  of  the  priest,  Claude 
Frollo — when  these  are  reached,  the  stor}'^  lives,  burns,  and 
rushes  to  its  awful  portentous  close.  "  Rushes,"  I  said,  but 
the  current  is  broken,  and  dammed  into  long  pools,  mir- 
rors of  a  motionless  past,  in  all  editions  except  the  first. 
Hugo,  as  he  tells  us,  lost  three  of  his  chapters,  and  pub- 
lished the  first  edition  without  them.  Two  of  them  were 
the  studies  of  mediseval  architecture,  which  interfere  with 
the  action.  However  excellent  in  themselves  (intended, 
as  they  are,  to  raise  a  vision  of  the  Paris  of  Louis  XI), 
these  chapters,  introduced  just  where  the  author  has 
warmed  to  his  work  and  the  tale  is  accumulating  impe- 
tus, are  possibly  out  of  place.  We  grumble  at  Scott's 
longueurs:  the  first  chapter  of  Quentin  Durzvard  is  an 
historical  essay.     But  Hugo  certainly  had  not  mastered 

X 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

the  art  of  selection  and  conciseness.  His  excursus  on 
architecture  is  admirable,  but  imprudent. 

These  chapters,  however,  are  the  natural  blossoms  of 
the  devotion  to  the  mediaeval  which  inspired  the  Romantic 
movement.  Every  poetic  Jean  was  then  a  Jehan.  Ru- 
dolph carried  his  bon  dagiie  de  Tolede,  and,  when  George 
Sand  dined  at  a  restaurant,  her  virtue  was  protected 
from  tyrants  by  an  elegant  dagger.  The  architecture 
of  the  Middle  Ages,  the  spires,  and  soaring  roofs,  and 
flying  buttresses,  and  machicolations,  were  the  passion  of 
Hugo. 

The  interest,  before  the  architectural  interruption,  lay 
in  the  chase  of  Esmeralda  by  Gringoire;  in  the  beggar- 
world,  with  its  king  and  gibbet,  like  the  Alsatia  of  the 
Fortunes  of  Nigel  vastly  magnified.  The  underworld  of 
Paris,  that  for  centuries  has  risen  as  the  foam  on  the  wave 
of  revolution,  fascinated  Hugo.  The  hideous  and  terrible 
aspect  of  these  grotesques  he  could  scarcely  exaggerate. 
It  is  urged  that  Esmeralda,  a  finer  Fenella — a  success,  not 
a  failure — could  not  have  been  bred  and  blossomed  in  her 
loathsome  environment.  The  daughter  of  a  woman  utterly 
lost,  till  redeemed  by  the  maternal  passion,  Esmeralda 
must  have  gone  the  way  of  her  world.  But  it  is  Hugo's 
method  to  place  a  marvellous  flower  of  beauty,  grace,  and 
goodness  on  his  fiimier.  The  method  is  not  realism;  it 
is  a  sacrifice  to  the  love  of  contrast.  In  short,  this  is  the 
"  probable  impossible  "  which  Aristotle  preferred  to  the 
"  improbable  impossible  ";  and  the  reader  who  yields  him- 
self to  the  author  has  no  dif^culty  in  accepting  Esmeralda 
and  the  heart-breaking  story  of  her  mother.  Claude  Frollo 
demands  and  receives  the  same  acceptance,  with  his  fra- 
ternal affection,  his  disbelief  in  all  but  the  incredible  prom- 
ises of  alchemy,  his  furious  passion,  and  fury  of  resistance 
to  his  passion.     Whether  Esmeralda  is  made  more  credi- 

xi 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

ble  by  her  love  of  Phoebus,  which  proves  her  bane,  is  a 
question.  That  love  strikes  one  as  a  touch  of  realism, 
an  idea  that  Thackeray  might  have  conceived,  perhaps 
relenting,  and  rejecting  the  profanation.  Whether  the 
motive  clashes  or  not  with  the  romanticism  of  Esmeralda's 
part,  we  may  excuse  it  by  the  ruling  and  creative  word 
of  the  romance — 'ANATKH — Doom. 

On  one  essential  point  Hugo  certainly  does  not  exag- 
gerate. The  trial  of  Esmeralda  is  merely  the  common 
procedure  in  cases  of  witchcraft.  With  the  evidence  of 
the  goat,  the  withered  leaf,  and  the  apparition  of  the 
mysterious  monk  against  her,  there  was  no  escape.  Thou- 
sands were  doomed  to  a  horrible  death  (in  Scotland  till 
the  beginning  of  the  eighteenth  century)  on  evidence  less 
damning.  The  torture  applied  to  Esmeralda  is  that  with 
which  Jeanne  d'Arc  was  threatened,  escaping  only  by  her 
courage  and  presence  of  mind.  For  the  rest,  the  Maid 
endured  more,  and  worse,  and  longer  than  Esmeralda, 
from  the  pedantic  and  cowardly  cruelty  of  the  French 
clergy  of  the  age.  One  point  might  be  perhaps  urged 
against  the  conduct  of  the  story.  The  Inquisition  spared 
the  life  of  the  penitent  sorceress,  in  Catholic  countries, 
though  Presbyterian  judges  were  less  merciful  than  the 
Inquisition.  Esmeralda,  who  confessed  to  witcheries, 
under  torture,  would  as  readily  have  recanted  her  errors. 
It  does  not  appear  why  she  was  hanged.  If  executed  for 
witchcraft,  it  would  have  been  by  fire;  and  obviously  she 
had  not  murdered  Phoebus,  who  led  the  archers  at  the 
rescue  of  the  Cathedral  from  the  beggars.  That  scene 
is  one  of  the  most  characteristic  in  the  book,  lit  by  flame 
and  darkened  by  smoke.  The  ingenuity  by  which  the 
mother  of  Esmeralda  is  made  to  help  in  causing  her 
destruction,  blinded  as  she  is  by  'ANAFKH,  is  one  of 
Hugo's  cruel  strokes  of  stage-craft.     The  figure  of  such 

•  • 

Xll 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

a  mother,  bankrupt  of  everything  in  life  but  the  maternal 
passion,  haunted  Hugo,  and  recurs  in  Fantine.  The  most 
famous  scene  of  all,  vivid  as  with  the  vividness  of  a  de- 
spairing dream,  is  the  agony  of  the  accursed  priest  as 
he  swings  from  the  leaden  pipe  on  the  roof  of  Notre- 
Dame.  Once  read  the  retribution  is  never  forgotten — the 
picture  of  the  mad  lover  and  murderer  swaying  in  air; 
death  below;  above,  the  one  flaming  eye  of  the  monstrous 
Quasimodo. 

The  portrait  of  Louis  XI,  as  compared  with  Scott's 
of  the  same  King,  has  been  Hkened  to  a  Velasquez  as 
vastly  superior  to  a  Vandyke.  To  myself,  Scott's  Louis 
appears  rather  to  resemble  a  Holbein;  Hugo's  to  be  com- 
parable to  a  miser  by  Rembrandt.  But  such  comparisons 
and  parallels  are  little  better  than  fanciful.  I  find  myself, 
as  regards  the  whole  book,  sometimes  rather  in  agreement 
with  the  extravagantly  hostile  verdict  of  Goethe — never, 
indeed,  persuaded  that  Notre-Dame  is  "  the  most  odious 
book  ever  written,"  but  feeling  that  the  agonies  are  too 
many,  too  prolonged,  and  too  excruciating,  the  contrasts 
too  violent.  Strength  alone,  even  when  born  of  the 
Muses,  has  the  defects  which  Keats  notes  in  one  of  his 
earliest  poems. 

When,  after  an  interval  of  twenty-five  years  given  to 
poetry  and  poHtics,  Victor  Hugo  returned  to  prose 
romance,  his  new  book,  Les  Miserables,  was  not  absolutely 
new.  It  was  a  canvas  that  had  for  some  time  been  worked 
upon;  but  the  picture,  or  procession  of  pictures,  was  com- 
pleted in  the  leisure  of  exile  at  Hauteville  House.  The 
book  is  a  prose  epic,  of  Indian  size,  the  Mahabharata  and 
Ramayana  alone  compare,  with  it  in  extent.  The  epic 
is  of  social  damnation:  "What  man  has  done  to  man," 
and,  in  some  degree,  of  social  redemption.  Ignorance, 
poverty,  greed,  hate,  lovelessness,  are  redeemed,  and  may 

xiii 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

be  redeemed  by  love  and  will.  As  usual,  the  book  is 
replete  with  episodes  and  excursions.  The  episode  of 
Waterloo  is  no  more  necessary,  though  infinitely  more 
interesting,  than  the  divagations  into  the  history  of  medi- 
aeval architecture  and  mediaeval  Parisian  monuments.  The 
lost  and  famished  mother  reappeais.  Hugo's  love  of  chil- 
dren again  expresses  itself  in  passages  tender  and  poign- 
ant. A  new  but  less  cursed  Quasimodo  is  at  war  with 
society,  but  not  with  the  Church  which  saves  him.  The 
book  is  rich  in  pages  which  a  child  can  read  with  breath- 
less interest.  The  virtuous  convict,  Jean  Valjean,  arouses 
suspicion  in  the  sceptical.  Five  years  of  the  galleys;  and, 
as  usual,  for  the  most  innocent  of  thefts,  a  loaf  of  bread! 
To  be  sure,  he  also  broke  a  window,  and  we  know  the 
atrocity  of  the  laws  of  the  period.  Still,  the  loaf  of  bread 
is  a  little  conventional,  like  the  frogs  which  the  virtuous 
peasant  always  passes  the  night  in  silencing,  in  the  open- 
ings of  novels  about  the  French  Revolution.  We  must 
regard  the  theft  of  the  loaf  as  ''  common  form,"  as  the 
recognised  way  of  leading  up  to  the  convict  of  excellent 
principles,  but  embittered  by  the  cruelty  of  society.  Jean 
certainly  had  grounds  enough  to  turn  a  man  into  a  wolf. 
The  Bishop  whose  plate  he  steals,  and  who  practically 
converts  him,  is  a  delightful  character.  The  plate  belonged 
to  the  poor;  Jean  was  poor,  therefore  Jean  owned  the  plate, 
The  logic  was  seraphic,  and  the  fib  by  which  the  Bishop 
secures  Jean's  release  might  have  seemed  to  Plato  "  a 
noble  lie."  We  love  the  Bishop,  but  should  we  imitate 
him? 

There  is  a  parallel  in  real  life.  In  1874,  the  Bishop 
of  Rodez  had  to  expostulate  with  a  cure  named  Boudes. 
The  cure  was  at  war  with  society:  he  had  begun  by  steal- 
ing candlesticks,  but  society  had  not  locked  him  up, 
unluckily.     His  cloth  protected  him.     *'  My  poor  Mon- 

xiv 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

sieur  le  Cure,"  wrote  the  mild  and  charitable  prelate,  "  you 
are  accused: 

"  I.   Of  neglecting  your  breviary. 

"  2.  Of  repeated  thefts  of  the  fees  for  special  masses, 
my  poor  cure. 

"  3.  Of  neglecting  to  confess  yourself. 

"4.  Of  infamous  behaviour;  your  constant  practice,  it 
would  seem. 

"5.  Of  habitual  acts  of  arson,  wilful  fire-raising. 

"  6.  There  are  more  awful  rumours  still,  in  which  I 
decline  to  believe." 

The  Bishop  of  Rodez  therefore  suggested  that  the  poor 
cure  had  better  go  to  some  other  parish.  But  he  stayed, 
and  murdered  the  Abbe  Alvar  in  his  bed.  Society  bru- 
tally condemned  him  to  penal  servitude  for  life.*  Now 
we  love  the  mansuetude  of  the  Bishop  of  Rodez,  who 
had  probably  read  Les  Miserables.  But  we  must  hesitate 
to  applaud  his  conduct,  considering  its  results. 

Our  gross  British  common  sense  will  keep  muttering 
these  cavils.  Nor  British  sense  alone:  when  I  was  young, 
and  in  France  for  the  first  time,  I  chanced  to  be  at  dinner 
in  a  provincial  hotel,  and  to  be  conversing  with  an  intel- 
ligent citizen.  I  asked  him  what  he  thought  of  Victor 
Hugo. 

"  Monsieur,  c'est  un  fou,"  said  the  citizen;  which  greatly 
disconcerted  me. 

But  the  voice  of  cavil  is  hushed  by  the  extraordinary- 
vision  and  genius  of  the  chapter  where  Jean  robs  petit 
Gervais,  where  the  beast  conquers  the  man,  and  the  man, 
awaking,  reconquers  the  beast.  The  story  of  the  cruelty 
of  Tholomyes,  as  much  worse  than  Phoebus  as  he  is  less 
stupid,  and  of  the  sorrows  of  Fantine,  is  almost  too  poign- 


*  Irving,  Studies  of  Fretich  Criminals,  pp.  1 18-124. 

XV 


Victor   Hugo's  Novels 

ant,  and  might  waken  tears  less  of  pity  than  of  impotent 
anger. 

On  the  other  hand,  the  judicial  faculties  of  the  mind 
arise  against  Valjean  in  his  second  state  sublime.  He 
had  been  a  poacher  and  a  rural  man  of  all  work,  ime 
cspcce  d'idiof,  he  says,  till  he  was  about  twenty-eight.  He 
went  into  the  galleys:  he  was  hard  on  fifty  when  he  robbed 
the  Bishop.  Then  he  invented  an  improved  scientific 
method  of  making  imitation  jet,  enriched  his  town,  en- 
riched himself,  collected  a  library,  and  lectured  on  the 
place  of  nettles  in  economics.  Nettles,  properly  consid- 
ered, are  as  valuable  as  the  cocoa-tree.  Where  did  he 
get  his  technical  and  literary  education?  Are  the  galleys 
so  instructive?  It  is  not  a  novel  that  we  are  reading;  it 
is  an  allegorical  epic  in  prose.  As  for  Javert,  "  wolf-son 
of  a  dog,"  the  Guardian  of  Order,  Hugo  says  that  the 
mystic  school  of  Joseph  de  Alaistre  would  have  called 
him  "  a  symbol."  And  a  symbol  he  is,  a  symbol  of  the 
hard  blind  engine  of  law.  "  The  law  says  nothing  about 
not  having  known,  not  having  intended:  that  is  the  pa- 
thetic part  of  it,"  says  a  hero  of  Mr.  Gilbert's.  Of  this 
law,  Javert  is  the  symbol:  they  are  all  symbols,  as  much 
as  the  people  in  The  Pilgrinis  Progress.  It  is  in  per- 
forming an  act  of  mercy  requiring  the  thews  of  a  Porthos, 
that  Valjean  is  recognised  by  Javert's  symbol! 

Another  symbol  is  Mme.  Victurinen,  the  dragoness 
guardian  of  virtue;  we  call  her  Mrs.  Grundy.  Thanks 
to  her,  poor  Fantine  is  driven  out  of  Valj can's  factory. 
The  Bishop  set  a  better  example.  Valjean  himself  was 
not  the  judge  in  Fantine's  case,  but  he  had  appointed 
the  judge,  an  old  maid,  devoid  of  charity.  Here  Valjean 
zijas  Society.  As  Society  he  drove  Fantine  to  sell  her 
hair,  her  teeth,  everything.  Even  a  virtuous  convict,  once 
he   becomes   a   capitalist,    becomes    Society,    and    Javert 

xvi 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

pounces  on  Fantine.  Valjean  is  redeemed  by  delivering 
himself  to  justice,  to  save  a  scoundrel  accused  of  his 
own  old  crime,  the  robbery  of  petit  Gervais.  Fantine  dies; 
Valjean,  escaped  from  prison,  protects  her  child  Cosette. 
But  he  cannot  educate  her — "  //  n'etait  qit'un  vieiix  homme 
qui  ne  savait  rien  de  tout"  Yet,  as  niaire,  as  inventor,  as 
capitalist,  he  had  accumulated  a  library,  had  read  hard, 
and  had  been  edifying  about  nettles.  These  things,  in 
an  ordinary  novel,  would  be  fatal;  but  Les  Miserables  is 
not  an  ordinary  novel.  It  is  an  epic,  ^nd  the  discrepan- 
cies of  ancient  epic  have  convinced  most  critics  that  they 
are  the  patchwork  of  many  hands  in  many  ages.  The 
theory  fails,  for  Les  Miserables  is  entirely  by  Hugo.  It 
is  not  in  consistency  of  construction  that  it  excels,  but  in 
the  ideal  splendour  of  the  master's  genius,  in  the  pity,  the 
pathos,  the  aspiration,  the  episodes,  such  as  the  Aristeia 
of  Gavroche,  the  childhood  of  Cosette. 

How  epic  is  the  Waterloo!  The  British  squares  are 
not  squares;  they  are  volcanoes.  The  Cuirassiers  are  not 
cavalry;  they  are  a  tempest.  The  Highlander,  as  he  falls, 
"  remembers  Ben  Lothian  "  (that  towers  above  the  Pass 
of  Brander),  as  the  dying  Greek  remembers  Argos.  Ar- 
riving an  hour  later,  'tis  a  Prussian  who  says  so,  Blucher 
would  have  found  Wellington  defeated.  He  was  defeated, 
says  Dumas,  an  hour  before  Blucher  arrived.  However, 
he  did  not  know  it,  and  uttered  the  famous  much-disputed 
speech — Debout,  Gardes,  et  visez  juste! — "  Up,  Guards,  and 
take  accurate  aim! " 

If  a  number  of  things  had  happened  quite  otherwise 
than  they  did,  Hugo  assures  us,  Napoleon  would  have 
won  at  Waterloo.  And  there  can  be  no  doubt  that  he 
is  right.  There  is  a  library  of  literature  about  Waterloo, 
a  maze  of  contradictory  accounts.  The  certainty  is  that 
the  Prussians,  thanks  to  loyal  Bliicher,  insured  the  French 

xvii 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

defeat.  The  probability  is  that,  without  Bliicher,  the  field 
would  have  been  drawn.  But  both  Dumas  and  Hugo 
write  without  rancour,  with  generous  recognition  of  hos- 
tile valour,  like  gentlemen  of  France. 

Lcs  Miserablcs  is  the  richest  and  noblest  example  of 
Hugo's  romantic  vein.  Lcs  Travailleurs  de  la  Mer  de- 
clares its  aim  in  the  prefatory  words.  "  Religion,  Society, 
Nature:  such  are  the  three  wars  of  man,"  the  *'  triple 
necessity":  with  the  fourth  form  of  Fate,  the  heart  of 
man.  Notre-Dame  described  the  struggle  with  Religion; 
Lcs  Miserablcs,  the  struggle  with  Society;  Lcs  Travail- 
leurs, the  struggle  with  Nature.  The  three  romances 
thus  form  a  trilogy,  on  the  Greek  tragic  model.  It  is  only 
in  the  idea  that  things  can  be  separated  thus:  the  war  with 
Nature  is  an  element  in  the  struggle  of  society:  and 
the  human  heart,  of  course,  will  have  a  stroke  in  every 
battle.  The  religion  of  the  age  gives  us  Villon's  ballade 
for  his  mother,  and  Jeanne  d'Arc.  The  heart  of  man  gives 
us  the  cruel  superstition,  fatal  to  Esmeralda  as  to  Jeanne. 
When  the  hearts  are  that  of  a  flirt  like  Deruchette,  who 
writes  a  young  man's  name  in  the  snow  for  him  to  read 
as  he  follows  her;  and  of  a  man  like  poor  Gilliatt  of  the 
haunted  house;  and  when  she  is  to  be  won  by  conflict 
with  Nature — the  sea,  and  its  monsters — then  Tragedy 
is  assured.  Haunted  houses,  the  Psychical  Researchers 
learn  with  emotion,  are  not  uncommon  in  Guernsey.  We 
applaud  Gilliatt,  who  dared  to  live  in  one  of  these  "  centres 
of  the  permanent  possibility  of  hallucination  "  at  the  risk 
or  certainty  of  being  deemed  a  sorcerer.  This  man  will 
blench  at  nothing.  The  manifold  causes  of  Gilliatt's  un- 
popularity are  given  with  pleasant  and  profound  irony. 
A  man  who  said  to  a  curate,  that  the  vault  of  heaven 
was  his  parish,  and  who  played  the  "  bug-pipe,"  might 
be  unpopular  in  other  circles  than  that  of  small,  super- 

xviii 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

stitious  Guernsey.  GilHatt,  the  dreamer  and  bug-piper, 
the  solitary  and  strange,  was  born  to  be  distrusted,  as 
Deruchette,  whom  Hugo  describes  with  all  the  charm  of 
his  own  sweet  lyrics,  was  born  to  attract  and  betray. 
When  a  fair  young  curate  appears,  "  crowned  with  locks 
of  gold,  girl-faced,  with  pure  eyes,"  and  a  white  neck-tie, 
we  forbode  the  end,  though  the  young  clergyman  is  named 
Ebenezer.  The  novel,  much  more  strictly  a  novel,  with 
a  plot,  sequence,  unity  of  action,  than  Les  Miserahles,  fol- 
lows the  naif  line  of  the  Mdrchen  or  popular  tale.  There 
is  a  great  adventure  to  be  achieved:  the  Princess  Deru- 
chette, who  wrote  Gilliatt's  name  in  the  cold,  false,  fleet- 
ing snow,  offers  her  hand  to  the  successful  adventurer, 
the  man  who  rescues  the  machinery  of  the  submerged 
steamer.  Gilliatt  girds  himself  for  the  adventure.  He 
triumphs  over  the  tempest  of  Ocean.  All  Immensity  cry- 
ing with  all  her  voices,  hurls  herself  against  him  in  vain. 
"  Clamours,  clarions,  calls,  all  the  cries  of  all  the  Ocean," 
do  not  triumph  over  him.  The  artillery  of  the  sky  leaves 
him  unscathed:  purple,  and  phosphorus,  and  bHnding 
night,  and  blinding  light,  and  cavalry  charges  of  the 
waves,  appal  him  not.  "  Gilliatt  semblait  n'y  pas  faire 
attention."  He  answers  each  thunder-clap  with  a  stroke 
of  his  hammer.  The  destined  Prince  of  the  fairy-tale 
could  do  no  more. 

There  is  a  fairy-tale,  in  Roumanian,  where  the  hero 
fights  an  awful  shapeless  form,  the  Welwa:  "it  had  a 
head  that  was  not  a  head,"  it  became  darkness  itself,  then 
reappeared  the  head  which  was  not  a  head,  the  shape 
which  was  many  shapes — and  shape  had  none.  After  vic- 
tory this  hero,  against  the  custom  of  fairy-tales,  is  de- 
ceived and  slain  by  his  brothers,  who  take  his  reward. 
Unconsciously  Hugo  follows  this  legend.  His  pienvre  is 
the  Welwa:  I  do  not  know  whether  natural  history  au- 

xix 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

thenticates  the  pieuzre;  but  she  is  described  with  a  won- 
derful effort  of  the  primitive  imagination.  She  it  was,  no 
doubt,  who  horrified  us  by  seizing  Clobin  by  the  foot, 
when  he  dived  with  his  ill-gotten  gains.  She  is  terrible 
as  the  monster  Grendel,  of  the  Beowulf  epic:  a  spider  in 
form,  a  chameleon  in  colour,  and  "  horror  of  horrors,  she 
is  soft!  "  Ce  dragon  est  un  sensitive.  She  is  probably 
identical  with  Homer's  Scylla,  that  sucked  down  with 
each  of  her  heads  one  of  the  companions  of  Odysseus. 
Only  Hugo  would  have  cast  this  primitive  terror  for  a 
part  in  a  novel  of  Guernsey  life  in  the  nineteenth  century. 
The  loathsome  picuvre  is  the  Quasimodo  of  the  deep,  with- 
out any  of  his  redeeming  qualities.  "  To  be  hideous  is 
to  hate."  The  picuvre  is  hideous  and  unfriendly.  She  is 
a  shadow  of  a  shadow,  a  fold  of  the  drapery  of  the  vague. 
She  is  "  the  Glutinous  inspired  by  Will  ";  she  shines  saint- 
Uke  in  the  darkness;  she  floats,  she  swims,  she  walks  on 
eight  feet — boneless,  bloodless,  fleshless,  *'  a  pneumatic 
machine." 

Such  was  the  creature  whose  eyes  were  fixed  on  Gil- 
liatt!  Her  eyes,  and  two  hundred  and  fifty  of  her  suckers. 
There  is  no  more  terrible  combat  in  epic,  romance,  or 
fairy-tale,  to  all  of  which  the  novel  has  afifinities.  The 
end  is  easily  forecast:  we  need  scarcely  look  to  the  last 
page  to  see  whether  Deruchette  is  false  or  true,  or  for 
whom  the  marriage-bells  are  ringing,  or  who  wears  the 
bridal  raiment  that  the  dead  mother  left  to  Gilliatt's  bride. 
'ANAFKH.  Man  conquers  Nature,  but  is  defeated  by 
the  human  heart.  The  Giant  Oueller  is  deserted;  the 
linnet-like  Deruchette  flits  with  another  mate  to  another 
bough;  the  hull  of  the  bark  that- bears  them  dips  below  the 
horizon;  the  head  of  Gilliatt  sinks  beneath  the  waves. 

Fielding's  novels  are  human:  Scott's  are  human,  and 
in  a  way,  something  more,  being  historical  they  embrace 

XX 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

man  in  the  present  and  the  past.  Stevenson,  when  he 
was  very  young,  in  one  of  his  earhest  critical  essays, 
remarked  that  the  gulf  between  Fielding  and  Scott  is 
not  so  wide  as  that  between  Scott  and  Hugo.  His  ro- 
mances are  not  of  the  world,  but  of  the  cosmos.  Men 
and  women,  lover  and  lass,  are  not  so  much  the  persons 
of  the  play  as  are  the  great  contending  principles  of  human 
existence,  the  strife  of  Eris  and  Eros.  Indeed,  it  was 
Hugo's  express  design  to  write  what  one  may  call  cosmic 
romance.  L'Homme  Qui  Rit  represents  the  great  strife 
of  Aristocracy  and  Democracy.  For  reasons  not  too  obvi- 
ous the  time  is  the  reign  of  Queen  Anne,  the  scene  is 
England,  which  Hugo  was  born  to  misunderstand  with 
really  colossal  ingenuity.  The  strife  of  principles  is  inev- 
itably represented  by  symbols,  Ursus,  Gwynplaine  (the 
Man  with  the  Laugh),  and  these  symbols  live  in  a  world 
that  never  existed.  It  may  be  argued  that  only  the  pedant 
is  vexed  by  such  trifles  as  Shakespeare's  Bohemia,  with 
its  sea-board,  and  by  the  England  of  the  Augustan  Age, 
in  L'Homme  Qui  Rit,  and  by  Scott's  Amy  Robsart, 
rearisen  from  a  tomb  where  she  has  lain  for  a  dozen 
years,  to  meet  a  poet  Shakespeare,  who,  in  fact,  had  not 
yet  written  a  line.  But  Hugo's  errors  are  of  a  wilder 
kind,  and,  unlike  Scott's,  unconscious.  "  Yeddburg " 
gives  us  pause  at  once — probably  Yeddburg  is  Jedburgh. 
The  Commons,  in  Parliament,  are  the  People — "  Les  com- 
munes, qui  sont  le  peuple."  In  France  almost  all  our  Com- 
mons of  the  age  would  have  been  "  noble."  Lord  Lin- 
naeus Clancharlie,  that  rigid  Republican  peer,  seems  the 
intentional  creation  of  burlesque.  His  bastard  is,  "  by 
courtesy,"  entitled  Lord  David  Dirry-Moir,  and  the  plot 
turns  on  this  extraordinary  misconception.  The  "  bird 
Krag  "  is  more  mythical  than  the  Roc  or  the  Phoenix. 
The  police  magistrate,  the  Javert  of  the  period,  is  "  the 

xxi 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

Wapentake."  James  II  was  not  the  best,  and  was  deserv- 
edly the  least  popular  of  our  modern  kings;  but  the  mon- 
strous private  crime  invented  for  him  would  have  shocked 
the  conscience  of  a  Warming-Pan  pamphleteer.  For 
Hugo's  purpose,  and  with  his  love  of  the  grotesquely  ter- 
rible, a  monster  was  needed,  as  a  symbol  of  what  an  aris- 
tocracy, never  of  the  French  type,  had  done  to  the  people. 
No  doubt  Hugo  firmly  believed  that  when  gentle  King 
Jamie  wrote  Corpora  et  bona  suhjectorum  nostra  sunt,  he 
was  claiming  the  right  which  his  grandson,  in  the  novel, 
executes.  Next  poor  Queen  Anne  se  donne  la  comedie, 
and  takes  part  in  these  impossible  abominations.  It  is 
not  easy,  it  is  hardly  possible  for  a  Briton,  however  igno- 
rant of  history,  to  read  L'Homme  Qui  Rit  with  the  respect 
which  the  genius  of  the  author  ought  to  command.  The 
ocean  may  become  "  father  and  mother  of  an  orphan,"  "  a 
panther  turned  nurse,"  but  Barkilphedro  and  Lord  David 
Dirry-Moir,  and  Hugo's  Queen  Anne,  and  Gwynplaine, 
who  becomes  ''  chief  of  a  clan,  like  Campbell,  Ardmannach, 
and  MacCallummore," — all  this  in  the  days  of  Swift  and 
Saint  John,  defeat  credulity.  Even  allegory  has  its  limits. 
Baldret,  King  of  Kent,  with  his  charter,  disdains  these 
lenient  laws.  The  English  Chronicle  knows  not  Baldret. 
Hugo's  learning  does  not  conceal  itself.  "  Wapentake  was 
a  magistracy,  now  it  is  a  territorial  division."  It  used 
to  mean  "  the  Hundred-man,"  now  it  means  "  the  Hun- 
dred." He  had  read  some  history  for  his  book;  he  doubt- 
less thought  that  he  knew  the  age  of  Swift  and  Addison. 
But  the  error  was  immense,  and  it  can  hardly  be  said 
that  L'Homme  Qui  Rit  can  content  a  British  reader.  Com- 
pare Esmond  with  UHomme  Qui  Rit! 

Mr.  Swinburne,  to  be  sure,  has  defended  UHomme 
Qui  Rit  against  "  anonymuncules "  who  "  chatter  and 
chuckle."     While  admiring  Mr.  Swinburne's  loyalty,  his 

xxii 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

defence  appears  to  me  to  amount  to  little  more  than  this: 
that  so  great  a  man  may  do  as  he  pleases.  "  Error  and  vio- 
lation of  likelihood  or  fact  which  would  damn  a  work  of 
Balzac's  or  of  Thackeray's,  cannot  even  lower  or  lessen 
the  rank  and  value  of  a  work  like  this."  There  is  no 
work  of  man  or  angel  which  would  not  be  spoiled  by  a 
continuous  strain  of  egregious  nonsense.  If  Hugo  wanted 
monsters  in  the  reign  of  Queen  Anne,  he  had  not  far 
to  go  to  find  them.  The  Brinvilliers,  La  Voisin,  the 
Court  ladies  who  celebrated  the  Black  Mass,  were  ready 
to  his  hand.  The  horrors  attributed  to  these  fair  French- 
women even  Hugo  could  not  exaggerate.  But,  in  Eng- 
land, there  was  no  Black  Mass,  no  poison  scandal  involv- 
ing the  noblest  names,  and  no  Bastile.  With  every  abom- 
ination lying  convenient  to  his  hand,  in  the  Memoirs  and 
criminal  record  of  the  age  of  Louis  XIV,  why  did  Hugo 
cross  the  Channel  to  invent  atrocities  in  a  country  about 
which  he  knew  less  than  nothing?  "  Pure  hate  and  scorn 
of  an  age  or  a  people,"  says  Mr.  Swinburne,  "  destroy 
the  faculty  of  observation,  much  more  of  description,  even 
in  the  historic  mind;  what  will  they  do  then  in  the  poetic?  " 

They  will  do  just  what  they  have  done  in  U Homme 
Qui  Rit.  Why  Hugo  should  have  scorned  the  victors  of 
Blenheim,  Ramillies,  and  Malplaquet,  or  scorned  men  who 
had  no  Bastile,  no  breaking  on  the  wheel,  no  Brinvilliers,  is 
not  to  be  discovered. 

The  moral  of  L'Homme  Qui  Rit  is.  in  part,  that  of 
Hugo's  last  novel,  written  after  the  Terrible  Year,  Quatre- 
vingt-treize.  The  father  of  the  vivandiere  was  beaten 
into  a  cripple,  by  the  Seigneur,  for  killing  a  rabbit.  Her 
husband's  father  was  hanged  "  by  the  King,"  as  a  faux 
saulnier.  The  grandfather  of  the  vivandiere  was  sent  to 
the  galleys  as  a  Huguenot  ''by  the  cure";  and  her  hus- 
band is  fighting  for  the  seigneurs,  the  cure,  and  the  King. 

xxiii 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 


« 


Moiiri/r  de  faim,  est-ce  etre  dans  la  loi?  " 

"  Depiiis  quand  ntoures-vous  de  faim?  " 

"  Depuis  toute  ma  vie." 

Hugo  has  Ics  miserables  always  with  him,  and  he  is 
always  of  their  party.  "  The  poor,  the  rich;  it  is  a  dread- 
ful business,"  the  old  beggar  says. 

In  the  civil  war  of  France  his  genius  Is  itself  again: 
in  "  the  victory  of  France  over  Europe,  and  the  victory 
of  Paris  over  France."  The  war  rages  round  the  three 
children,  the  children  of  the  revolutionary  regiment,  the 
hostages  of  the  Royalists.  Children  and  mothers  are  here, 
as  in  all  his  novels,  the  flowers  in  the  mire  and  blood  of 
battling  humanity.  That  the  children  should  be  treated 
as  hostages,  by  the  Royalists,  to  perish  in  the  burning 
tower,  was  probably  not  an  idea  too  atrocious  for  the 
wars  of  La  Vendee,  In  the  midst  of  the  siege,  the  chil- 
dren waken  and  play — "  Un  reveil  d'enfants,  c'est  ime  ouver- 
ture  de  fleiirs;  il  semble  qii'un  parfttm  sorte  de  ces  frakhes 
ames."  To  mingle  the  odours  of  burnt  powder  and  of 
blood  with  the  fragrance  of  childhood  is  Hugo's  constant 
method.  We  may  criticise  the  violence  of  the  contrasts 
in  which  he  dehghts,  but  we  are  subdued  by  his  pictures 
of  infantile  grace  and  charm.  So  the  contrasts  present 
themselves  alternately:  till  the  fanatic  Republican  destroys 
his  dearest  friend  for  daring  to  do  an  act  of  clemency — 
and  shoots  himself.  The  latter  part  of  his  conduct  was 
unexampled;  the  former,  the  Roman  role  of  Brutus,  was 
usual  enough.  The  Revolution  was  the  true  field  for 
Hugo's  genius — fantastic,  terrible,  and  tender.  Here  he 
was  at  home,  not  in  the  Court  of  good  Queen  Anne. 

To  the  English  reader  the  sources  of  Hugo's  faults 
appear  to  be  two:  the  love  of  the  excessive,  as  if  Martin 
had  written  romances  in  the  manner  of  his  pictures;  and 
the  entire  lack  of  the  humour  which  restrains  exaggera- 

xxiv 


Victor  Hugo's  Novels 

tion.  It  is  much  to  be  doubted  whether  cosmic  strifes 
and  emotions  find  their  true  vehicle  in  romances;  whether 
novels  with  forces  and  principles  of  human  nature  for 
protagonists  are  entirely  possible.  These  things  are  the 
themes  of  historical  science,  or  of  history  as  understood 
by  Carlyle  and  Michelet.  Prose  fiction  has  its  limits;  but 
limit  was  unknown  to  Hugo.  He  piled  PeHon  on  Ossa 
to  scale  heaven:  in  his  lyric  poetry  he  is  a  man;  he  is  a 
Titan,  we  must  end  by  saying,  as  we  began,  in  his  ro- 
mances. The  characters  of  his  creation  who  live  are  his 
mothers  and  children,  and,  now  and  again,  his  lovers,  and 
his  minor  characters.  Monsters,  even  monsters  of  virtue, 
cannot  become  much  more  real  than,  though  they  are 
quite  as  impressive  as,  Quasimodo  and  the  pieuvre.  The 
chiefs  of  creative  fiction  live  in  their  children,  the  children 
of  Shakespeare,  Moliere,  Fielding,  Jane  Austen.  Hugo's 
life  is  as  the  life  of  winds  and  waves:  like  Euripides,  he  is 

"  the  meteoric  poet." 

A.  Lang. 


BIOGRAPHICAL   NOTE 


Victor  Hugo  zvas  born  on  the  26th  of  February,  1802, 
at  Besangon,  where  his  father,  an  officer  in  Moreau's  army,  was 
commanding  a  battalion.  His  first  three  years  ivere  spent  in 
Corsica;  in  1805  his  mother  took  her  family  to  Paris,  but  re- 
joined her  husband,  at  Avellino,  in  South  Italy,  in  180/.  Gen- 
eral Hugo,  as  the  father  presently  became,  zvas  appointed  a 
governor  in  Spain,  from  zdiich  the  English  under  Welling- 
ton dislodged  himself  and  his  family  in  1812.  Returning  to 
Paris,  Victor  was  put  to  school  until  1818,  zvhen  he  made  up 
his  mind  that  literature  should  be  his  profession.  That  he  zvas 
still  under  classical  influences  was  proved  by  his  first  volume, 
the  "  Odes  et  Poesies  "  of  1822.  It  gained  him  a  pension  from 
Louis  XVIII,  and  was  followed  next  year  by  his  earliest 
novel,  "Han  d'Islande."  The  romantic  movement  nozv  spread 
to  France,  and  Hugo  was  one  of  its  earliest  adherents;  he  took 
the  lead  in  revolt  by  publishing  his  "  Odes  "  in  1826  and  his 
"  Cromzvell "  in  182'/.  It  zvas  in  the  preface  to  the  latter  that 
his  famous  formula  of  the  Romantic  faith  zvas  issued.  He 
first  took  a  place,  however,  among  the  leading  lyric  poets  of 
Europe  with  his  "  Orientates  "  of  182Q.  This  was  a  crowning 
year  in  Victor  Hugo's  career;  it  sazv  the  production  of  "  Her- 
nani  "  and  the  composition  of  "Marion  Delorme"  and  " Le  Der- 
nier Jour  d'un  Condamnc."    From  this  time  forth  his  plays,  nov- 

xxvii 


Biographical  Note 


els,  and  lyrical  poems  were  poured  forth  in  three  parallel  and 
continuous  streams.  "  Notre-Damc  de  Paris  "  was  published  on 
the  iph  of  February,  i8ji.  For  the  next  ten  years  the  life  of 
Victor  Hugo  was  one  of  continual  prosperity  and  ever-ascend- 
ing fame.  Among  his  dramas,  " Ruy  Bias"  belongs  to  i8j8, 
and  among  the  collections  of  his  poems  "  Les  Voix  Interieures  " 
to  iSj/.  He  was  elected  to  the  French  Academy  in  1841  and 
created  a  peer  of  France  in  184^.  He  had  been  in  sympa- 
thy zuith  the  Government,  but  when  the  Royalists  fell  and 
Napoleon  arrived  on  the  scene,  Victor  Hugo  became  a  vio- 
lent radical.  As  a  member  of  the  Legislative  Assembly  lie 
opposed  the  Coup  d'etat,  and  was  exiled  at  the  close  of  1851, 
taking  up  his  residence  in  Brussels.  Here  the  violence  of  his 
attacks  on  Napoleon  HI  led  to  his  expulsion  from  Belgium, 
aiid  in  the  summer  of  1852  he  settled  at  St.  Hcliers,  in  Jer- 
sey, whence  he  sent  out  the  fierce  sheaf  of  "  Les  Chdtiments  " 
in  the  fqllozuing  year.  Jersey,  in  its  turn,  became  too  hot  to 
hold  him,  and  in  the  autumn  of  1855  ^^  ^^^k  up  his  abode  at 
Hauteville  House,  Guernsey,  where  he  resided  for  fifteen  years. 
His  occupation  during  the  earlier  part  of  his  stay  at  Guernsey 
was  the  composition  of  "  La  Legende  des  Siecles,"  the  first 
portion  of  which  appeared  in  i8^Q.  Victor  Hugo's  huge 
novel,  "  Les  Miscrablcs,"  was  published  in  1862,^  and  his  fan-  . 
tastic  zvork  on  Shakespeare  in  1864.  Two  grotesquely  ro- 
viantic  novels,  "Les  Travailleurs  de  la  Mer"  and  " U Homme 
Qui  Kit,''  belong  respectively  to  1866  and  i86p.  The  Napoleon 
dynasty  having  fallen,  Hugo  immediately  reappeared  in 
France  (September  5,  iSyo)  and  endured  his  share  of  the  suf-  jj 

I 

ferings  of  the  siege  of  Paris.  After  somewhat  unsuccessfully 
acting  a  part  in  the  politics  of  reconstruction,  Hugo  with- 
drew to  Brussels,  from  zvhich  town  he  was  driven  in  May, 

xxviii  i 


Biographical  Note 


iSji,  for  his  expressed  sympathy  zuith  the  Paris  Commune. 
He  now  retired  from  the  feuds  of  politics  and  devoted  himself 
mainly  to  poetry,  only  one  novel,  "  Quatre-vingt-treize,"  1874, 
belonging  to  this  latest  period  of  his  career.  From  Decem- 
ber, i8yi,  the  residence  of  Hugo  was  Paris,  where  he  lived 
with  his  widowed  daughter-in-law  and  her  children;  in  18 y 5 
he  was  elected  a  perpetual  senator.  For  fourteen  years  he 
enjoyed,  in  full  serenity  and  strength,  the  splendours  of  an  old 
age  of  extreme  celebrity;  it  was  said  that  he  entered,  during  his 
lifetime,  into  immortality.  In  the  spring  of  1885  he  took  a  chill 
zvhile  riding,  as  he  loved  to  do,  on  the  outside  of  an  omnibus. 
His  heart  gradually  gave  way,  and  he  died  on  the  22d  of  May. 
He  received  from  the  city  of  Paris  a  funeral  of  extreme  pomp, 
and  the  Pantheon  zvqs  prepared  for  his  reception,  after  the 
coffin  had  been  lying  in  public  state,  for  tzventy-four  hours, 
under  the  Arc  de  Triomphe. 

E.  G. 


B  XX  ix  Vol.  4 


AUTHOR'S    PREFACE 

TO   THE   EDITION   OF    1832 


The  announcement  that  this  edition  was  furnished 
with  several  fresh  chapters  was  incorrect;  they  should 
have  been  described  as  hitherto  unpublished.  For,  if  by 
fresh  one  understands  newly  written,  then  the  chapters 
added  to  this  edition  are  not  fresh  ones.  They  were 
written  at  the  same  time  as  the  rest  of  the  work;  they 
date  from  the  same  period,  were  engendered  by  the  same 
thought,  and  from  the  first  formed  part  of  the  manuscript 
of  Notre-Dame  de  Paris.  Moreover,  the  author  cannot 
imagine  adding  new  developments  to  a  work  of  this 
nature,  the  thing  being  once  finished  and  done  with.  That 
cannot  be  done  at  will.  To  his  idea,  a  novel  is,  in  a  sense, 
necessarily  born  with  all  its  chapters  complete,  a  drama 
with  all  its  scenes.  Do  not  let  us  think  there  is  anything 
arbitrary  in  the  particular  number  of  parts  which  go  to 
make  up  that  whole — that  mysterious  microcosm  which  we 
call  a  novel  or  a  drama.  Neither  joins  nor  patches  are  ever 
effectual  in  such  a  work,  which  ought  to  be  fashioned  in  a 
single  piece,  and  so  be  left,  as  best  may  be.  The  thing  once 
done,  listen  to  no  second  thoughts;  attempt  no  touchings 
up  of  the  book  once  given  to  the  world,  its  sex,  virile 
or  otherwise,  once  recognised  and  acknowledged;  the  child, 
having  once  uttered  its  first  cry,  is  born,  is  fashioned 
in  that  way  and  no  other;  father  or  mother  are  powerless 
to  alter  it,  it  belongs  to  the  air  and  the  sun;    let  it  live 

xxxi 


Author*s  Preface 

or  die  as  it  is.  Is  your  book  a  failure?  Tant  pis,  but 
do  not  add  chapters  to  those  which  have  already  failed. 
Is  it  defective? — it  should  have  been  completed  before 
birth.  Your  tree  is  gnarled?  You  will  not  straighten 
it  out.  Your  novel  phthisical,  not  viable?  You  will  never 
give  it  the  life  that  is  lacking  to  it.  Your  drama  is 
born  lame?  Believe  me,  it  is  futile  to  supply  it  with 
a  wooden  leg. 

The  author  is  therefore  particularly  anxious  that  the 
public  should  know  that  the  interpolated  chapters  were  nOt 
written  expressly  for  this  new  edition.  They  were  hot  in- 
cluded in  the  previous  editions  for  a  very  simple  reason. 
When  Notre-Dame  de  Paris  was  being  printed  the  first 
time,  the  packet  of  manuscript  containing  these  chapters 
went  astray,  so  that  they  would  either  have  had  to  be  rewrit- 
ten or  omitted.  The  author  considered  that  the  only  chap- 
ters of  real  import  were  the  two  dealing  specially  with  art 
and  history,  but  that  their  omission  would  in  no  way  dis- 
turb the  course  of  the  drama;  and  that  the  public  being 
unconscious  of  their  absence,  he  alone  would  be  in  the 
secret  of  this  hiatus.  He  decided  then  for  the  omission, 
not  only  for  the  above  reason,  but  because,  it  must  be 
confessed,  his  indolence  shrank  affrighted  from  the  task 
of  rewriting  the  lost  chapters.  Rather  would  he  have 
written  a  new  book  altogether. 

Meanwhile,  these  chapters  have  reappeared,  and  the 
author  seizes  the  first  opportunity  to  restore  them  to 
their  proper  place,  thus  presenting  his  work  complete 
— such  as  he  imagined  it,  well  or  ill,  lasting  or  perish- 
able; but  in  the  form  he  desired  it  to  have. 

Paris,  October  zo,  i8j2. 


xxxii 


AUTHOR'S    PREFACE 

TO   THE   EDITION   OF    1831 


Some  years  ago,  when  visiting,  or,  more  properly 
speaking,  thoroughly  exploring  the  Cathedral  of  Notre- 
Dame,  the  writer  came  upon  the  word 

'ANAFKH  * 

graven  on  the  wall  in  a  dim  corner  of  one  of  the  towers. 

In  the  outline  and  slope  of  these  Greek  capitals,  black 
with  age  and  deeply  scored  into  the  stone,  there  were 
certain  peculiarities  characteristic  of  Gothic  calligraphy 
which  at  once  betrayed  the  hand  of  the  mediaeval  scribe. 

But  most  of  all,  the  writer  was  struck  by  the  dark 
and  fateful  significance  of  the  word;  and  he  pondered 
long  and  deeply  over  the  identity  of  that  anguished  soul 
that  would  not  quit  the  world  without  imprinting  this 
stigma  of  crime  or  misfortune  on  the  brow  of  the  ancient 

edifice. 

Since  then  the  wall  has  been  plastered  over  or 
scraped — I  forget  which — and  the  inscription  has  disap- 
peared. For  thus,  during  the  past  two  hundred  years, 
have  the  marvellous  churches  of  the  Middle  Ages  been 
treated.  Defacement  and  mutilation  have  been  their  por- 
tion— both  from  within  and  from  without.  The  priest  plas- 
ters them  over,  the  architect  scrapes  them;  finally  the 
people  come  and  demohsh  them  altogether. 

*  Fate,  destiny. 

xxxiii 


Author's  Preface 

Hence,  save  only  the  perishable  memento  dedicated 
to  it  here  by  the  author  of  this  book,  nothing  remains 
of  the  mysterious  word  graven  on  the  sombre  tower  of 
Notre-Dame,  nothing  of  the  unknown  destiny  it  so  mourn- 
fully recorded.  The  man  who  inscribed  that  word  passed 
centuries  ago  from  among  men;  the  w'ord,  in  its  turn, 
has  been  effaced  from  the  wall  of  the  Cathedral;  soon, 
perhaps,  the  Cathedral  itself  will  have  vanished  from  the 
face  of  the  earth. 

This  word,  then,  the  writer  has  taken  for  the  text 
of  his  book. 

February,  i8ji. 


XXXIV 


CONTENTS 


PAGE 

Victor  Hugo's  Novels v-xxv 

Andrew  Lang 

Life  of  Victor  Hugo xxvii-xxix 

Edmund  Gosse 

Author's  Preface  to  the  edition  of  1832      .  xxxi-xxxii 

Author's  Preface  to  the  edition  of  1 83 1      .  xxxiii-xxxiv 

Notre-Dame  de  Paris  : 

BOOK  I 

(    \.J  The  great  hall 3 

II.  Pierre  Gringoire 18 

III.  The  Cardinal 27 

IV.  Master  Jacques  Coppenole 34 

V.  Quasimodo 4-3 

VI.      Esmeralda 5° 

BOOK  II 

I.  From  Scylla  to  Charybdis 53 

^  II.  The  Place  de  Greve     .       ,       , 5^ 

III.  Besos  para  golpes 5^ 

IV.  The    mishaps    consequent    on    following    a    pretty    woman 

through  the  streets  at  night 68 

V.      Sequel  of  the  mishap 7  2 

VI.      The  broken  pitcher 75 

VII.      A  wedding  night    , 93 

XXXV 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

BOOK     HI  y  PAGE 

I.      Notre-Dame       .      ^      .       ,    -t-^ 103 

II.      Bird' s-eye  view  of  Paris 112 

BOOK  IV 

I.      Charitable  souls 137 

II.      Claude  Frollo 141 

III.  Immanis  pecoris  custos,  immanior  ipse 146 

IV.  The  dog  and  his  master 153 

V.      Further  particulars  of  Claude  Frollo 155 

VI.      Unpopularity 161 

BOOK   V 

I.      The  Abbot  of  St.  Martin's 163 

>«  II.      This  will  destroy  That 174 

BOOK   VI 

I.      An  impartial  glance  at  the  ancient  magistracy  .       .      .       .189 

II.      The  Rat-hole 200 

III.  The  story  of  a  wheaten  cake 204 

IV.  /A  tear  for  a  drop  of  water  , 224 

V.      End  of  the  wheaten  cake 233 

BOOK  VII 

I.      Showing  the  danger  of  confiding  one's  secret  to  a  goat       .  235 

_JI.      Showing  that  a  priest  and  a  philosopher  are  not  the  same  .  250 

^     The  bells 259 

IV.      Fate I- 

V.      The  two  men  in  black '- ,  + 

VI.      Of  the  result   of  launching  a  string  of  seven  oaths  in  a 

public  square 280 

VII.      The  spectre-monk 385 

VIII.      The  convenience  of  windows  overlookmg  the  river      .       .  292 

BOOK  VIII 

I.      The  crown  piece  changed  into  a  vnthered  leaf      .       .      .  301 

II.      Sequel  to  the  crown  piece  changed  into  a  withered  leaf     .  310 

III.      End  of  the  crown  piece  changed  into  a  withered  leaf .       .  315 

xxxvi 


Contents 

PACK 

IV.  Lajciate  ogni  Speranza ^ig 

V.      The  mother 112 

VI.      Three  various  hearts  of  men ,       ,       •  33^ 

BOOK  IX 

I.      Delirium 5c? 

II.      Humpbacked,  one-eyed,  lame ,       .  364 

III.  Deaf 368 

IV.  Earthenware  and  crystal •  37° 

Vj)     The  key  of  the  Porte  Rouge 381 

*«iVl.      Sequel  to  the  key  of  the  Porte  Rouge 383 

BOOK  X 

I.      Gringoire  has  several  bright  ideas  in  succession  in  the  Rue 

^.. ^        des  Bernardins 287 

i  II.    /Turn  vagabond  ! 3^7 

iTTr     l^ive  la  Joie ! 399 

IV.      An  awkward  fiiend ij.08 

V.  The   closet   where   Monsieur   Louis  of  France   recites   his 

orisons ^27 

VI.      The  pass-word 457 

VII.      Chateaupers  to  the  rescue        .       , /j.58 

BOOK  XI 

I.      The  little  shoe /^Si 

II,      La  Creatura  Bella  Bianco  Vestita       .,.,..  494 

III.  The  marriage  of  Phoebus 502 

IV.  The  marriage  of  Quasimodo 503 

Appendix 506 

The  Portraits  and  Caricatures  of  Victor  Hugo    507-519 

Octave  Uzanne 


zxxvii 


NOTRE-DAME   DE   PARIS 


NOTRE-DAME  DE  PARIS 


BOOK    I 


THE   GREAT   HALL 

Precisely  three  hundred  and  forty-eight  years  six 
months  and  nineteen  days  ago  *  Paris  was  awakened  by  the 
sound  of  the  peaHng  of  all  the  bells  within  the  triple  enclos- 
ing walls  of  the  city,  the  University,  and  the  town. 

Yet  the  6th  of  January,  1482,  was  not  a  day  of  which  his- 
tory has  preserved  the  record.  There  was  nothing  of  peculiar 
note  in  the  event  which  set  all  the  bells  and  the  good  people 
of  Paris  thus  in  motion  from  early  dawn.  It  was  neither  an 
assault  by  Picards  or  Burgundians,  nor  a  holy  image  carried 
in  procession,  nor  a  riot  of  the  students  in  the  vineyard  of 
Laas,  nor  the  entry  into  the  city  of  "  our  most  dread  Lord 
the  King,"  nor  even  a  fine  stringing  up  of  thieves,  male  and 
female,  at  the  Justice  of  Paris.  Neither  was  it  the  unex- 
pected arrival,  so  frequent  in  the  fifteenth  century,  of  some  for- 
eign ambassador  with  his  beplumed  and  gold-laced  retinue. 
Scarce  two  days  had  elapsed  since  the  last  cavalcade  of  this 
description,  that  of  the  Flemish  envoys  charged  with  the  mis- 
sion TO  conclude  the  marriage  between  the  Dauphin  and  Mar- 
garet of  Flanders,  had  made  its  entry  into  Paris,  to  the  great 
annoyance  of  Monsieur  the  Cardinal  of  Bourbon,  who,  to 
please  the  King,  had  been  obliged  to  extend  a  gracious  recep- 
tion to  this  boorish  company  of  Flemish  burgomasters,  and 
entertain  them  in  his  Hotel  de  Bourbon  with  a  "  most  pleasant 

*  Notre-Dame  de  Paris  was  begun  July  30,  1830. 

3 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

morality  play,  drollery,  and  farce,"  while  a  torrent  of  rain 
drenched  the  splendid  tapestries  at  his  door. 

The  6th  of  January,  which  "  set  the  whole  population  of 
Paris  in  a  stir,"  as  Jehan  de  Troyes  relates,  was  the  date  of 
the  double  festival — united  since  time  immemorial — of  the 
Three  Kings,  and  the  Feast  of  Fools. 

On  this  day  there  was  invariably  a  bonfire  on  the  Place  de 
Grwe,  a  may-pole  in  front  of  the  Chapelle  de  Braque,  and  a 
mystery-play  at  the  Palais  de  Justice,  as  had  been  proclaimed 
with  blare  of  trumpets  on  the  preceding  day  in  all  the  streets 
by  Monsieur  the  Provost's  men,  arrayed  in  tabards  of  violet 
camlet  with  great  white  crosses  on  the  breast. 

The  stream  of  people  accordingly  made  their  way  in  the 
morning  from  all  parts  of  the  town,  their  shops  and  houses 
being  closed,  to  one  or  other  of  these  points  named.  Each 
one  had  chosen  his  share  of  the  entertainments — some  the 
bonfire,  some  the  may-pole,  others  the  Mystery.  To  the  credit 
of  the  traditional  good  sense  of  the  Paris  "  cit  "  be  it  said  that 
the  majority  of  the  spectators  directed  their  steps  towards  the 
bonfire,  which  was  entirely  seasonable,  or  the  Mystery,  which 
was  to  be  performed  under  roof  and  cover  in  the  great  Hall 
of  the  Palais  de  Justice,  and  were  unanimous  in  leaving  the 
poor  scantily  decked  may-pole  to  shiver  alone  under  the  Janu- 
ary sky  in  the  cemetery  of  the  Chapelle  de  Braque. 

The  crowd  flocked  thickest  in  the  approaches  to  the  Palais, 
as  it  was  known  that  the  Flemish  envoys  intended  to  be  pres- 
ent at  the  performance  of  the  Mystery,  and  the  election  of  the 
Pope  of  Fools,  which  was  likewise  to  take  place  in  the  great 
Hall. 

It  was  no  easy  matter  that  day  to  penetrate  into  the  great 
Hall,  then  reputed  the  largest  roofed-in  space  in  the  world. 
(It  is  true  that,  at  that  time,  Sauval  had  not  yet  measured  the 
great  hall  of  the  Castle  of  Montargis.)  To  the  gazers  from 
the  windows,  the  square  in  front  of  the  Palais,  packed  as  it 
was  with  people,  presented  the  aspect  of  a  lake  into  which 
five  or  six  streets,  like  so  many  river  mouths,  were  each  mo- 
ment pouring  fresh  floods  of  heads.  The  ever-swelling  waves 
of  this  multitude  broke  against  the  angles  of  the  houses,  which 
projected  here  and  there,  like  promontories,  into  the  irregular 
basin  of  the  Place. 


The  Great  Hall 

In  the  centre  of  the  high  Gothic  *  fagade  of  the  Palais  was 
the  great  flight  of  steps,  incessantly  occupied  by  a  double 
stream  ascending  and  descending,  which,  after  being  broken 
by  the  intermediate  landing,  spread  in  broad  waves  over  the 
two  lateral  flights. 

Down  this  great  stair-case  the  crowd  poured  continuously 
into  the  Place  like  a  cascade  into  a  lake,  the  shouts,  the 
laughter,  the  trampling  of  thousands  of  feet  making  a  mighty 
clamour  and  tumult.  From  time  to  time  the  uproar  re- 
doubled, the  current  which  bore  the  crowd  towards  the  grand 
stairs  was  choked,  thrown  back,  and  formed  into  eddies,  when 
some  archer  thrust  back  the  crowd,  or  the  horse  of  one  of 
the  provost's  men  kicked  out  to  restore  order;  an  admirable 
tradition  which  has  been  faithfully  handed  down  through  the 
centuries  to  our  present  gendarmerie  of  Paris. 

Every  door  and  window  and  roof  swarmed  with  good, 
placid,  honest  burgher  faces  gazing  at  the  Palais  and  at  the 
crowd,  and  asking  no  better  amusement.  For  there  are  many 
people  in  Paris  quite  content  to  be  the  spectators  of  specta- 
tors; and  to  us  a  wall,  behind  which  something  is  going  on, 
is  a  sufficiently  exciting  spectacle. 

If  we  of  the  nineteenth  century  could  mingle  in  imagina- 
tion with  these  Parisians  of  the  fifteenth  century,  could  push 
our  way  with  that  hustling,  elbowing,  stamping  crowd  into  the 
immense  Hall  of  the  Palais,  so  cramped  on  that  6th  of  Janu- 
ary, 1482,  the  scene  would  not  be  without  interest  or  charm 
for  us,  and  we  would  find  ourselves  surrounded  by  things  so 
old  that  to  us  they  would  appear  quite  new. 

With  the  reader's  permission  we  will  attempt  to  evoke  in 
thought  the  impression  he  would  have  experienced  in  crossing 
with  us  the  threshold  of  that  great  Hall  amid  that  throng  in 
surcoat,  doublet,  and  kirtle. 

At  first  there  is  nothing  but  a  dull  roar  in  our  ears  and  a 
dazzle  in  our  eyes.     Overhead,  a  roof  of  double  Gothic  arches, 

-  ■  -  ■-- —  -  ■  -  ■  '  — ■   -        -  ~—~ -.1     I        I       I  ■■-■■.--..I—  I         ■ 

*  The  term  Gothic  used  in  its  customary  sense  is  quite  incorrect,  but 
is  hallowed  by  tradition.  We  accept  it,  therefore,  and  use  it  like  the  rest 
of  the  world,  to  characterize  the  architecture  of  the  latter  half  of  the  Mid- 
dle Ages,  of  which  the  pointed  arch  forms  the  central  idea,  and  which 
succeeds  the  architecture  of  the  first  period,  of  which  the  round  arch  is  the 
prevailing  feature.— Author's  note, 

5 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

panelled  with  carved  wood,  painted  azure  blue,  and  diapered 
with  golden  fleur  de  lis ;  underfoot,  a  pavement  in  alternate 
squares  of  black  and  white.  A  few  paces  off  is  an  enormous 
pillar,  and  another — seven  in  all  down  the  length  of  the  hall, 
supporting  in  the  centre  line  the  springing  arches  of  the  dou- 
ble groining.  Around  the  first  four  pillars  are  stalls  all  glit- 
tering with  glassware  and  trinkets,  and  around  the  last  three 
are  oaken  benches,  worn  smooth  and  shining  by  the  breeches 
of  the  litigants  and  the  gowns  of  the  attorneys.  Ranged 
along  the  lofty  walls,  between  the  doors,  between  the  win- 
dows, between  the  pillars,  is  the  interminable  series  of  statues 
of  the  rulers  of  France  from  Pharamond  downward ;  the 
"  Rois  faineants,"  with  drooping  eyes  and  indolent  hanging 
arms ;  the  valiant  warrior  kings,  with  head  and  hands  boldly 
uplifted  in  the  sight  of  heaven.  The  tall,  pointed  windows 
glow  in  a  thousand  colours ;  at  the  wide  entrances  to  the  Hall 
are  richly  carved  doors;  and  the  whole — roof,  pillars,  walls, 
cornices,  doors,  statues — is  resplendent  from  top  to  bottom 
in  a  coating  of  blue  and  gold,  already  somewhat  tarnished  at 
the  period  of  which  we  write,  but  which  had  almost  entirely 
disappeared  under  dust  and  cobwebs  in  the  year  of  grace 
1549,  when  Du  Breuil  alluded  to  it  in  terms  of  admiration,  but 
from  hearsay  only. 

Now  let  the  reader  picture  to  himself  that  immense,  oblong 
Hall  under  the  wan  light  of  a  January  morning  and  invaded 
by  a  motley,  noisy  crowd,  pouring  along  the  walls  and  eddy- 
ing round  the  pillars,  and  he  will  have  some  idea  of  the  scene 
as  a  whole,  the  peculiarities  of  which  we  will  presently  en- 
deavour to  describe  more  in  detail. 

Assuredly  if  Ravaillac  had  not  assassinated  Henri  IV  there 
would  have  been  no  documents  relating  to  his  trial  to  be  de- 
posited in  the  Record  office  of  the  Palais  de  Justice ;  no  accom- 
plices interested  in  causing  those  documents  to  disappear,  and 
consequently  no  incendiaries  compelled,  in  default  of  a  better 
expedient,  to  set  fire  to  the  Record  office  in  order  to  destroy 
the  documents,  and  to  burn  down  the  Palais  de  Justice  in 
order  to  burn  the  Record  office — in  short,  no  conflagration  of 
1618.  The  old  Palais  would  still  be  standing  with  its  great 
Hall,  and  I  could  say  to  the  reader  "  Go  and  see  for  your- 
self," and  we  should  both  be  exempt  of  the  necessity,  I  of 

6 


The  Great  Hall 

writing,  he  of  reading  this  description,  such  as  it  is.  All  of 
which  goes  to  prove  the  novel  truth,  that  great  events  have 
incalculable  consequences. 

To  be  sure,  it  is  quite  possible  that  Ravaillac  had  no  ac- 
complices, also  that,  even  if  he  had,  they  were  in  no  way- 
accessory  to  the  fire  of  1618.  There  exist  two  other  highly 
plausible  explanations.  In  the  first  place,  the  great  fiery  star 
a  foot  wide  and  an  ell  high,  which,  as  every  mother's  son 
knows,  fell  from  heaven  on  to  the  Palais  on  the  7th  of  March 
just  after  midnight ;  and  secondly,  Theophile's  quatrain,  which 

runs : 

"  Certes,  ce  fut  un  triste  jeu 
Quand  i  Paris  dame  Justice, 
Pour  avoir  mange  trop  d'epice 
Se  mit  tout  le  palais  en  feu."  * 

Whatever  one  may  think  of  this  triple  explanation — politi- 
cal, physical,  and  poetical — of  the  burning  of  the  Palais  de 
Justice  in  1618,  about  one  fact  there  is  unfortunately  no  doubt, 
and  that  is  the  fire  itself. 

Thanks  to  this  disaster,  and  more  still  to  the  successive 
restorations  which  destroyed  what  the  fire  had  spared,  very 
little  remains  of  this  first  residence  of  the  Kings  of  France,  of 
this  original  palace  of  the  Louvre,  so  old  even  in  the  time  of 
Philip  the  Fair,  that  in  it  they  sought  for  traces  of  the  magnifi- 
cent buildings  erected  by  King  Robert  and  described  by  Hel- 
galdus.  Nearly  all  has  gone.  What  has  become  of  the 
Chancery  Chamber  in  which  St.  Louis  '*  consummated  his 
marriage  "  ?  what  of  the  garden  where  he  administered  justice, 
"  clad  in  a  jerkin  of  camlet,  a  surcoat  of  coarse  woollen  stuff 
without  sleeves,  and  over  all  a  mantle  of  black  *  sandal,'  and 
recHning  on  a  carpet  with  Joinville  "  ?  Where  is  the  chamber 
of  the  Emperor  Sigismund?  where  that  of  Charles  IV? 
that  of  John  Lackland?    Where  is  the  flight  of  steps  from 

♦  In  truth  it  was  a  sorry  game 
When  in  Paris  Dame  Justice, 
Having  gorged  herself  with  spice, 
Set  all  her  palace  in  a  flame. 
The  application  of  these  lines  depends,  unfortunately,  on  an  untrans- 
latable play  on  the  word  ''pice,  which  means  both  spice  and  lawyers'  fees. 

7 


Notre- Dame  de  Paris 

which  Charles  VI  proclaimed  his  "Edict  of  Pardon"?  the 
flag-stone  whereon,  in  the  presence  of  the  Dauphin,  Marcel 
strangled  Robert  de  Clermont  and  the  Marshal  de  Cham- 
pagne? the  wicket  where  the  bulls  of  the  anti-Pope  Bene- 
dict were  torn  up,  and  through  which  the  bearers  of  them 
marched  out,  mitred  and  coped  in  mock  state,  to  publicly  make 
the  amende  honorable  through  the  streets  of  Paris?  and  the 
great  Hall  with  its  blue  and  gold,  its  Gothic  windows,  its 
statues,  its  pillars,  its  immense  vaulted  roof  so  profusely  carved 
— and  the  gilded  chamber — and  the  stone  lion  kneeling  at  the 
door  with  head  abased  and  tail  between  its  legs,  like  the  lions 
of  Solomon's  throne,  in  that  attitude  of  humility  which  be- 
seems Strength  in  the  presence  of  Justice?  and  the  beautiful 
doors,  and  the  gorgeous-hued  windows,  and  the  wrought 
iron-work  which  discouraged  Biscornette — and  the  delicate 
cabinet-work  of  Du  Hancy?  How  has  time,  how  has  man, 
served  these  marvels?  What  have  they  given  us  in  exchange 
for  all  this,  for  this  great  page  of  Gallic  history,  for  all  this 
Gothic  art?  The  uncouth,  surbased  arches  of  M.  de  Brosse, 
the  clumsy  architect  of  the  great  door  of  Saint-Gervais — 
so  much  for  art ;  and  as  regards  history,  we  have  the  gossipy 
memoirs  of  the  Great  Pillar,  which  still  resounds  with  the  old 
wives'  tales  of  such  men  as  Patru. 

Well,  that  is  not  much  to  boast  of.  Let  us  return  to  the 
real  great  Hall  of  the  real  old  Palais. 

The  two  extremities  of  this  huge  parallelogram  were  occu- 
pied, the  one  by  the  famous  marble  table,  so  long,  so  broad, 
and  so  thick  that,  say  the  old  territorial  records  in  a  style  that 
would  whet  the  appetite  of  a  Gargantua,  "  Never  was  such  a 
slab  of  marble  seen  in  the  world  " ;  the  other  by  the  chapel  in 
which  Louis  XI  caused  his  statue  to  be  sculptured  kneeling  in 
front  of  the  Virgin,  and  to  which  he  had  transferred — indif- 
ferent to  the  fact  that  thereby  two  niches  were  empty  in  the 
line  of  royal  statues — those  of  Charlemagne  and  Saint-Louis : 
two  saints  who,  as  Kings  of  France,  he  supposed  to  be  high 
in  favour  in  heaven.  This  chapel,  which  was  still  quite  new, 
having  been  built  scarcely  six  years,  was  carried  out  entirely 
in  that  charming  style  of  delicate  architecture,  with  its  mar- 
vellous stone-work,  its  bold  and  exquisite  t»-acery,  which  marks 
in  France  the  end  of  the  Gothic  period,  and  lasts  on  into  the 

8 


The  Great  Hall 

middle  of  the  sixteenth  century  in  the  ethereal  fantasies  of 
the  Renaissance.  The  little  fretted  stone  rose-window  above 
the  door  was  in  particular  a  master-piece  of  grace  and  light- 
ness— a  star  of  lace. 

In  the  centre  of  the  Hall,  opposite  the  great  entrance,  they 
had  erected  for  the  convenience  of  the  Flemish  envoys  and 
other  great  personages  invited  to  witness  the  performance  of 
the  Mystery,  a  raised  platform  covered  with  gold  brocade  and 
fixed  against  the  wall,  to  which  a  special  entrance  had  been 
contrived  by  utilizing  a  window  into  the  passage  from  the 
Gilded  Chamber.  <\VV^. 

^-  According  to  custom,  the  performance  was  to  take  place!  — 
upon  the   marble   table,   which   had   been   prepared  for  that 
purpose   since   the   morning.     On   the    magnificent   slab,    all      ^y 
scored  by  the  heels  of  the  law-clerks,  stood  a  high  wooden 
erection,  the  upper  floor  of  w^hich,  visible  from  every  part  of 
the  Hall,  was  to  serve  as  the  stage,  while  its  interior,  hung 
round  with  draperies,  furnished  a  dressing-room  for  the  actors. 
A  ladder,  frankly  placed  in  full  view  of  the  audience,  formed 
the  connecting  link  between   stage  and  dressing-room,  and 
served  the  double  office  of  entrance  and  exit.    There  was  no 
character  however  unexpected,  no  change  of  scene,  no  stage  , 
effect,  but  was  obliged  to  clamber  up  this  ladder.     Dear  and 
guileless  infancy  of  art  and  of  stage  machinery! 

Four  sergeants  of  the  provost  of  the  Palais — the  appointed 
superintendents  of  all  popular  holidays,  whether  festivals  or 
executions — stood  on  duty  at  the  four  corners  of  the  marble 
table. 

The  piece  was  not  to  commence  till  the  last  stroke  of  noon 
of  the  great  clock  of  the  Palais.  To  be  sure,  this  was  very 
late  for  a  theatrical  performance:  but  they  had  been  obliged 
to  suit  the  convenience  of  the  ambassadors. 

Now,  all  this  multitude  had  been  waiting  since  the  early 
morning ;  indeed,  a  considerable  number  of  these  worthy  spec- 
tators had  stood  shivering  and  chattering  their  teeth  with  cold 
since  break  of  day  before  the  grand  stair-case  of  the  Palais; 
some  even  declared  that  they  had  spent  the  night  in  front  of 
the  great  entrance  to  make  sure  of  being  the  first  to  get  in. 
The  crowd  became  denser  every  moment,  and  like  water  that 
overflows  its  boundaries,  began  to  mount  the  w^alls,  to  surge 

9 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

round  the  pillars,  to  rise  up  and  cover  the  cornices,  the 
window-sills,  every  projection  and  every  coign  of  vantage  in 
architecture  or  sculpture.  The  all-prevailing  impatience,  dis- 
comfort, and  weariness,  the  license  of  a  holiday  approvedly 
dedicated  to  folly,  the  quarrels  incessantly  arising  out  of  a 
sharp  elbow  or  an  iron-shod  heel,  the  fatigue  of  long  waiting 
— all  conduced  to  give  a  tone  of  bitterness  and  acerbity  to  the 
clamour  of  this  closely  packed,  squeezed,  hustled,  stifled 
throng  long  before  the  hour  at  which  the  ambassadors  were 
expected.  Nothing  was  to  be  heard  but  grumbling  and 
imprecations  against  the  Flemings,  the  Cardinal  de  Bourbon, 
the  Chief  Magistrate,  Madame  Marguerite  of  Austria,  the 
beadles,  the  cold,  the  heat,  the  bad  weather,  the  Bishop  of 
Paris,  the  Fools'  Pope,  the  pillars,  the  statues,  this  closed 
door,  yonder  open  window — to  the  huge  diversion  of  the 
bands  of  scholars  and  lackeys  distributed  through  the  crowd, 
who  mingled  their  gibes  and  pranks  with  this  seething  mass  of 
dissatisfaction,  aggravating  the  general  ill-humour  by  per- 
petual pin-pricks. 

There  was  one  group  in  particular  of  these  joyous  young 
demons  who,  after  knocking  out  the  glass  of  a  window,  had 
boldly  seated  themselves  in  the  frame,  from  whence  they  could 
cast  their  gaze  and  their  banter  by  turns  at  the  crowd  inside 
the  Hall  and  that  outside  in  the  Place,  By  their  aping 
gestures,  their  yells  of  laughter,  by  their  loud  interchange  of 
opprobrious  epithets  with  comrades  at  the  other  side  of  the 
Hall,  it  was  very  evident  that  these  budding  literati  by  no 
means  shared  the  boredom  and  fatigue  of  the  rest  of  the  gath- 
ering, and  that  they  knew  very  well  how  to  extract  out  of  the 
scene  actually  before  them  sufficient  entertainment  of  their 
own  to  enable  them  to  wait  patiently  for  the  other. 

"  Why,  by  my  soul,  'tis  Joannes  Frollo  de  Molendino !  " 
cried  one  of  them  to  a  Httle  fair-haired  imp  with  a  hand- 
some mischievous  face,  who  had  swarmed  up  the  pillar  and 
was  clinging  to  the  foliage  of  its  capital ;  "  well  are  yow 
named  Jehan  of  the  Mill,  for  your  two  arms  and  legs  are 
just  like  the  sails  of  a  wind-mill.  How  long  have  you  been 
here  ?  " 

"  By  the  grace  of  the  devil,"  returned  Joannes  Frollo, 
"  over  four  hours,  and  I  sincerely  trust  they  may  be  deducted 

lo 


The  Great  Hall 

from  my  time  in  purgatory.  I  heard  the  eight  chanters  of 
the  King  of  Sicily  start  High  Mass  at  seven  in  the  Sainte- 
Chapelle." 

"  Fine  chanters  forsooth !  "  exclaimed  the  other,  "  their 
voices  are  sharper  than  the  peaks  of  their  caps!  The  King 
had  done  better,  before  founding  a  Mass  in  honour  of  M. 
Saint-John,  to  inquire  if  M.  Saint-John  was  fond  of  hearing 
Latin  droned  with  a  Provengal  accent." 

"  And  was  it  just  for  the  sake  of  employing  these  rascally 
chanters  of  the  King  of  Sicily  that  he  did  that  ?  "  cried  an 
old  woman  bitterly  in  the  crowd  beneath  the  window.  "  I 
ask  you — a  thousand  livres  parisis  '''  for  a  Mass,  and  that  too 
to  be  charged  on  the  license  for  selling  salt-water  fish  in  the 
fish-market  of  Paris." 

"  Peace !  old  woman,"  replied  a  portly  and  solemn  per- 
sonage, who  was  holding  his  nose  as  he  stood  beside  the  fish- 
wife ;  "  a  Mass  had  to  be  founded.  Would  you  have  the  King 
fall  sick  again  ?  " 

"  Bravely  said.  Sir  Gilles  Lecornu,\  master  furrier  to  the 
royal  wardrobe ! "  cried  the  little  scholar  clinging  to  the 
capital. 

A  burst  of  laughter  from  the  whole  band  of  scholars 
greeted  the  unfortunate  name  of  the  hapless  Court  furrier. 

"  Lecornu  !     Gilles  Lecornu !  "  shouted  some. 

"  Cornitus  et  hirsntus! "  X  responded  another. 

"  Why,  of  course,"  continued  the  little  wretch  on  the  capi- 
tal. "  But  what  is  there  to  laugh  about  ?  A  worthy  man  is 
Gilles  Lecornu,  brother  to  Master  Jehan  Lecornu,  provost 
of  the  Royal  Palais,  son  of  Master  Mahiet  Lecornu,  head 
keeper  of  the  Forest  of  Vincennes,  all  good  citizens  of  Paris, 
married  every  one  of  them  from  father  to  son !  " 

The  mirth  redoubled.  The  portly  furrier  answered  never 
a  word,  but  did  his  best  to  escape  the  attention  directed  to 
him  from  all  sides ;  but  he  puffed  and  panted  in  vain.  Like  a 
wedge  being  driven  into  wood,  his  struggles  only  served  to 

*  Old  French  money  was  reckoned  according  to  two  standards,  that  of 
Paris  (parisis)  and  Tours  (tournois) ;  the  livre  parisis,  the  old  franc,  hav- 
ing twenty-five  sols  or  sous,  and  the  livre  tournois  twenty  sols. — Trans- 
lator's NOTE.  f  Cuckold.  X  Horned  and  hairy. 

IX 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

fix  his  broad  apoplectic  face,  purple  with  anger  and  vexation, 
more  firmly  between  the  shoulders  of  his  neighbours. 

At  last  one  of  these  neighbours,  fat,  pursy,  and  worthy 
as  himself,  came  to  his  aid. 

"  Out  upon  these  graceless  scholars  who  dare  to  address 
a  burgher  in  such  a  manner!  In  my  day  they  would  have 
first  been  beaten  with  sticks,  and  then  burnt  on  them," 

This  set  the  whole  band  agog. 

"  Hola !  he !  what  tune's  this  ?  Who's  that  old  bird  of 
ill  omen?  " 

"  Oh,  I  know  him !  "  exclaimed  one ;  "  it's  Maitre  Andry 
Musnier." 

"  Yes,  he's  one  of  the  four  booksellers  by  appointment  to 
the  University,"  said  another. 

"  Everything  goes  by  fours  in  that  shop !  "  cried  a  third. 
"  Four  nations,  four  faculties,  four  holidays,  four  procurators, 
four  electors,  four  booksellers." 

"  Very  good,"  returned  Jehan  Frollo,  "  we'll  quadruple 
the  devil  for  them." 

"  Musnier,  we'll  burn  thy  books." 

"  Musnier,  we'll  beat  thy  servants." 

"  Musnier,  we'll  tickle  thy  wife." 

"  The  good,  plump  Mile.'  Oudarde." 

"  Who  is  as  buxom  and  merry  as  if  she  were  already  a 
widow." 

"  The  devil  fly  away  with  you  all,"  growled  Maitre  Andry 
Musnier. 

"  Maitre  Andry,"  said  Jehan,  still  hanging  fast  to  his  capi- 
tal, "  hold  thy  tongue,  or  I  fall  plump  on  thy  head." 

Maitre  Andry  looked  up,  appeared  to  calculate  for  a  mo- 
ment the  height  of  the  pillar  and  the  weight  of  the  little  rascal, 
mentally  multiplied  that  weight  by  the  square  of  the  velocity 
— and  held  his  peace.  Whereupon  Jehan,  left  master  of  the 
field,  added  triumphant^,  "  And  I'd  do  it  too,  though  I  am 
the  brother  of  an  archdeacon." 

"  A  fine  set  of  gentlemen  those  of  ours  at  the  University, 
not  even  on  a  day  like  this  do  they  see  that  we  get  our 
rights.  There's  a  may-pole  and  a  bonfire  in  the  town,  a  Fools' 
Pope  and  Flemish  ambassadors  in  the  city,  but  at  the  Uni- 
versity, nothing ! " 

12 


The  Great  Hall 

"  And  yet  the  Place  Maubert  is  large  enough,"  observed 
one  of  the  youngsters,  ensconced  in  a  corner  of  the  window- 
ledge. 

"  Down  with  the  Rector,  the  electors,  and  the  procura- 
tors !  "  yelled  Jehan. 

"  We'll  make  a  bonfire  to-night  in  the  Champs-Gaillard 
with  Maitre  Andry's  books !  "  added  another. 

"  And  the  desks  of  the  scribes !  "  cried  his  neighbour. 

"  And  the  wands  of  the  beadles !  " 

"  And  the  spittoons  of  the  deans !  " 

"  And  the  muniment  chests  of  the  procurators !  " 

*'  And  the  tubs  of  the  doctors !  " 

"And  the  stools  of  the  Rector!" 

"  Down !  "  bellowed  little  Jehan  in  a  roaring  bass ;  "  down 
with  Maitre  Andry,  the  beadles  and  the  scribes ;  down  with 
the  theologians,  the  physicians,  and  the  priests ;  down  with 
the  procurators,  the  electors,  and  the  Rector ! !  " 

"  'Tis  the  end  of  the  world !  "  muttered  Maitre  Andry, 
stopping  his  ears. 

"  Talk  of  the  Rector — there  he  goes  down  the  square !  " 
cried  ond  of  those  in  the  window.  And  they  all  strained  to 
catch  a  glimpse. 

"  Is  it  in  truth  our  venerable  Rector,  Maitre  Thibaut  ?  "  in- 
quired Jehan  Frollo  du  Moulin,  who  from  his  pillar  in  the  inte- 
rior of  the  Hall  could  see  nothing  of  what  went  on  outside. 

"  Yes,  yes,"  responded  the  others  in  chorus,  "  it  is  Maitre 
Thibaut,  the  Rector  himself." 

It  was  in  fact  the  Rector,  accompanied  by  all  the  digni- 
taries of  the  University  going  in  procession  to  receive  the 
ambassadors,  and  in  the  act  of  crossing  the  Place  du  Palais. 
The  scholars  crowding  at  the  window  greeted  them  as  they 
passed  with  gibes  a«d  ironical  plaudits.  The  Rector  march- 
ing at  the  head  of  his  band  received  the  first  volley — it  was 
a  heavy  one. 

"  Good-day,  Monsieur  the  Rector — Hola  there !  Good- 
day  to  you !  " 

"  How  comes  it  that  the  old  gambler  has  managed  to  be 
here?     Has  he  then  actually  left  his  dice?  " 

"  Look  at  him  jogging  alone  on  his  mule — its  ears  are  not 
as  long  as  his  own !  " 

13 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  Hola,  good-day  to  you  Monsieur  the  Rector  Thibaut ! 
Tybaldc  aleator!  *  old  numskull !  old  gamester !  " 

■'  God  save  you !  How  often  did  you  throw  double  six 
last  night  ?  " 

"  Oh,  just  look  at  the  lantern-jawed  old  face  of  him — all 
livid  and  drawn  and  battered  from  his  love  of  dice  and 
gaming!  " 

"  Where  are  you  ofif  to  like  that,  Thibaut,  Tybalde  ad 
dados,^  turning  your  back  on  the  University  and  trotting 
towards  the  town  ?  " 

"  Doubtless  he  is  going  to  seek  a  lodging  in  the  Rue 
Thibautode !  "  |  cried  Jehan  Frollo. 

The  whole  ribald  crew  repeated  the  pun  in  a  voice  of 
thunder  and  with  furious  clapping  of  hands. 

"  You  are  off  to  seek  a  lodging  in  the  Rue  Thibautode, 
aren't  you,  Monsieur  the  Rector,  own  partner  to  the  devil ! " 

Now  came  the  turn  of  the  other  dignitaries. 

"  Down  with  the  beadles !  Down  with  the  mace- 
bearers  !  " 

"  Tell  me,  Robin  Poussepain,  who  is  that  one  over 
there?" 

"  It  is  Gilbert  de  Suilly,  Gilbertus  de  Soliaco,  the  Chan- 
cellor of  the  College  of  Autun." 

"  Here,  take  my  shoe — you  have  a  better  place  than  I 
have — throw  it  in  his  face  !  " 

"  SaturnaUtias  mittimus  ecce  nuces! "  * 

"  Down  with  the  six  theologians  in  their  white  sur- 
plices !  " 

"Are  those  the  theologians?  I  took  them  for  the  six 
white  geese  Sainte-Genevieve  pays  to  the  Town  as  tribute  for 
the  fief  of  Roogny." 

"  Down  with  the  physicians !  " 

"  Down  with  all  the  pompous  and  squabbling  disputa- 
tions !  " 

"  Here  goes  my  cap  at  thy  head,  Chancellor  of  Sainte-Gene- 
vieve ;  I  owe  thee  a  grudge.    He  gave  my  place  in  the  Nation 

*  Thibaut,  thou  gamester, 
f  Thibaut  towards  losses. 

f  A  pun.     Thibaut  aux  des ;  i.  e.,  Thibaut  with  the  dice. 

*  Freely  translated  :  There'll  be  rotten  apples  thrown  at  heads  to-day, 

14 


The  Great  Hall 

of  Normandy  to  little  Ascaino  Falzaspada,  who  as  an  Italian, 

belongs  of  right  to  the  Province  of  Bourges." 

"  'Tis  an  injustice !  "  cried  the  scholars  in  chorus.     "  Down 

with  the  Chancellor  of  Sainte-Genevieve !  " 

"  Ho,   there,   Maitre   Joachim   de   Ladehors !     Ho,   Louis 

Dahuille  !     Ho,  Lambert  Hoctement !  " 

"  The    devil    choke    the    Procurator    of    the    Nation    of 

Germany !  " 

"  And  the  chaplains  of  the  Sainte-Chapelle  in  their  gray 

amices  ;  cum  tunicis  grisis!  " 

"  Seu  de  pdlibus  grisis  fourratis!  " 

"  There  go  the  Masters  of  Art !     Oh,  the  fine  red  copes ! 

and  oh,  the  fine  black  ones[" 

"  That  makes  a  fine  tail  'for  the  Rector !  " 

"  He   might  be   the   Doge   of   Venice   going  to   espouse 

the  sea." 

"  Look,  Jehan,  the  canons  of  Sainte-Genevieve !  " 

"The  foul  fiend. take  the  whole  lot  of  them!" 

"  Abbe  Claude  Choart !     Doctor  Claude  Choart,  do  you 

seek  Marie  ta  Giflfarde  ?  " 

"  You'll  find  her  in  the  Rue  Glatigny." 

"  Bed-making  for  the  King  of  the  Bawdies !  " 

"  She  pays  her  fourpence — qiiahior  denarios." 

"  Aitt  iinum  bombiim." 

"  Would  you  have  her  pay  you  with  one  on  the  nose  ?  " 

"  Comrades !     Maitre  Simon  Sanguin,  the  elector  of  the 

Nation  of  Picardy,  with  his  wife  on  the  saddle  behind  him." 
"  Post  cquifem  sedct  atra  ciira."  * 
"  Good-day  to  you.  Monsieur  the  Elector !  " 
*'  Good-night  to  you,  Madame  the  Electress !  " 
"  Lucky  dogs  to  be  able  to  see  all  that !  "  sighed  Joannes 

de  Molendino,   still  perched  among  the  acanthus   leaves   of 

his  capital. 

Meanwhile  the  bookseller  of  the  University,  Maitre  Andry 

Musnier,   leaned   over  and   whispered   to   the   Court   furrier, 

Maitre  Gilles  Lecornu : 

"  I  tell  you,  monsieur,  'tis  the  end  of  the  world.     Never 

has  there  been  such  unbridled  license  among  the  scholars. 

*  Behind  the  rider  sits  black  care. 
C  15  Vol.  4 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

It  all  comes  of  these  accursed  inventions — they  ruin  every- 
thing— the  artillery,  the  culverine,  the  blunderbuss,  and  above 
all,  printing,  that  second  pestilence  brought  us  from  Ger- 
many. No  more  manuscripts — no  more  books !  Printing 
gives  the  death-blow  to  bookselling.  It  is  the  beginning  of 
the  end." 

"  I,  too,  am  well  aware  of  it  by  the  increasing  preference 
for  velvet  stufifs,"  said  the  furrier. 

At  that  moment  it  struck  twelve. 

A  long-drawn  "  Ah !  "  went  up  from  the  crowd. 

The  scholars  held  their  peace.  There  ensued  a  general 
stir  and  upheaval,  a  great  shuffling  of  feet  and  movement  of 
heads,  much  coughing  and  blowing  of  noses ;  everyone  re- 
settled himself,  rose  on  tip-toe,  placed  himself  in  the  most 
favourable  position  obtainable.  Then  deep  silence,  every 
neck  outstretched,  every  mouth  agape,  every  eye  fixed  on  the 
marble  table.  Nothing  appeared ;  only  the  four  sergeants 
were  still  at  their  posts,  stiff  and  motionless  as  four  painted 
statues.  Next,  all  eyes  turned  towards  the  platform  reserved 
for  the  Flemish  envoys.  The  door  remained  closed  and  the 
platform  empty.  Since  daybreak  the  multitude  had  been 
waiting  for  three  things— the  hour  of  noon,  the  Flemish  am- 
bassadors, and  the  Mystery-Play.  Noon  alone  had  kept  the 
appointment.  It  was  too  bad.  They  waited  one,  two,  three, 
five  minutes — a  quarter  of  an  hour — nothing  happened.  Then 
anger  followed  on  the  heels  of  impatience ;  indignant  words 
flew  hither  and  thither,  though  in  suppressed  tones  as  yet. 
*'  The  Mystery,  the  Mystery !  "  they  murmured  sullenly.  The 
temper  of  the  crowd  began  to  rise  rapidly.  The  warning 
growls  of  the  gathering  storm  rumbled  overhead.  It  was 
Jehan  du  Moulin  who  struck  out  the  first  flash. 

"  Let's  have  the  Mystery,  and  the  devil  take  the  Flem- 
ings !  "  he  cried  at  the  pitch  of  his  voice,  coiling  himself  about 
his  pillar  like  a  serpent. 

The  multitude  clapped  its  approval. 

"  The  Mystery,  the  Mystery !  "  they  repeated,  "  and  to  the 
devil  with  all  Flanders !  " 

"  Give  us  the  Mystery  at  once,"  continued  the  scholar,  "  or 
it's  my  advice  we  hang  the  provost  of  the  Palais  by  way  of 
both  Comedy  and  Morality." 

i6 


The  Great  Hall 

"  Well  said ! "  shouted  the  crowd,  "  and  let's  begin  the 
hanging  by  stringing  up  his  sergeants." 

A  great  roar  of  applause  followed.  The  four  poor  devils 
grew  pale  and  glanced  apprehensively  at  one  another.  The 
multitude  surged  towards  them.^and  they  already  saw  the  frail 
wooden  balustrade  that  formed  the  only  barrier  between  them 
and  the  crowd  bulge  and  give  way  under  the  pressure  from 
without. 

The  moment  was  critical. 

"  At  them !     At  them !  "  came  from  all  sides. 

At  that  instant  the  curtain  of  the  dressing-room  we  have 
described  was  raised  to  give  passage  to  a  personage,  the  mere 
sight  of  whom  suddenly  arrested  the  crowd,  and,  as  if  by 
magic,  transformed  its  anger  into  curiosity. 

"  Silence  !     Silence  !  " 

But  slightly  reassured  and  trembling  in  every  limb,  the 
person  in  question  advanced  to  the  edge  of  the  marble  table 
with  a  profusion  of  bows  which,  the  nearer  he  approached, 
assumed  more  and  more  the  character  of  genuflections. 

By  this  time  quiet  had  been  gradually  restored,  and  there 
only  remained  that  faint  hum  which  always  rises  out  of  the 
silence  of  a  great  crowd. 

"  Messieurs  the  bourgeois,"  he  began,  "  and  Mesdemoi- 
selles  the  bourgeoises,  we  shall  have  the  honour  of  declaiming 
and  performing  before  his  Eminence  Monsieur  the  Cardinal 
a  very  fine  Morality  entitled  'The  Good  Judgment  of  Our 
Lady  the  Virgin  Mary.'  I  play  Jupiter.  His  Eminence  ac- 
companies at  this  moment  the  most  honourable  Embassy  of 
the  Duke  of  Austria,  just  now  engaged  in  listening  to  the 
harangue  of  Monsieur  the  Rector  of  the  University  at  the 
Porte  Baudets.  As  soon  as  the  Most  Reverend  the  Cardinal 
arrives  we  will  commence." 

Certainly  nothing  less  than  the  direct  intervention  of 
Jupiter  could  have  saved  the  four  unhappy  sergeants  of  the 
provost  of  the  Palais  from  destruction.  Were  we  so  fortunate 
as  to  have  invented  this  most  veracious  history  and  were 
therefore  liable  to  be  called  to  task  for  it  by  Our  Lady  of 
Criticism,  not  against  us  could  the  classical  rule  be  cited, 
Nee  detis  intersit. 

For  the  rest,  the  costume  of  Seigneur  Jupiter  was  very 

17 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

fine,  and  had  contributed  not  a  little  towards  soothing  the 
crowd  by  occupying  its  whole  attention.  Jupiter  was  arrayed 
in  a  "  brigandine  "  or  shirt  of  mail  of  black  velvet  thickly 
studded  with  gilt  nails,  on  his  head  was  a  helmet  embellished 
v;ith  silver-gilt  buttons,  and  but  for  the  rouge  and  the  great 
beard  which  covered  respectively  the  upper  and  lower  half  of 
his  face,  but  for  the  roll  of  gilded  pasteboard  in  his  hand 
studded  with  iron  spikes  and  bristling  with  jagged  strips,  of 
tinsel,  which  experienced  eyes  at  once  recognised  as  the 
dread  thunder-bolt,  and  were  it  not  for  his  flesh-coloured  feet, 
sandalled  and  beribboned  a  la  Grecque,  you  would^  have  been 
very  apt  to  mistake  him  for  one  of  M.  de  Berry's  company 
of  Breton  archers. 


II 

PIERRE   GRINGOIRE 


Unfortunately,  the  admiration  and  satisfaction  so  uni- 
versally excited  by  his  costume  died  out  during  his  harangue, 
and  when  he  reached  the  unlucky  concluding  words,  "  As 
soon  as  his  Reverence  the  Cardinal  arrives,  we  will  begin," 
his  voice  was  drowned  in  a  tempest  of  hooting. 

"  Begin  on  the  spot !  The  Mystery,  the  Mystery  at  once !  " 
shouted  the  audience,  the  shrill  voice  of  Joannes  de  Molendino 
sounding  above  all  the  rest,  and  piercing  the  general  uproar 
like  the  fife  in  a  charivari  at  Nimes. 

"  Begin !  "  piped  the  boy. 

"  Down  with  Jupiter  and  the  Cardinal  de  Bourbon ! " 
yelled  Robin  Poussepain  and  the  other  scholars  perched  on 
the  window-sill. 

"  The  Morality !  "  roared  the  crowd.  "  At  once — on  the 
spot.  The  sack  and  the  rope  for  the  players  and  the 
Cardinal !  " 

Poor  Jupiter,  quaking,  bewildered,  pale  beneath  his  rouge, 
dropped  his  thunder-bolt  and  took  his  helmet  in  his  hand ; 
then  bowing  and  trembling :  "  His  Eminence,"  he  stammered, 
"  the  Ambassadors — Madame  Marguerite  of  Flanders — "  he 

i8 


Pierre  Gringoire 


could  get  no  farther.  Truth  to  tell,  he  was  afraid  of  being 
hanged  by  the  populace  for  beginning  too  late,  hanged  by  the 
Cardinal  for  being  too  soon ;  on  either  side  he  beheld  an 
abyss — that  is  to  say,  a  gibbet. 

Mercifully  some  one  arrived  upon  the  scene  to  extricate 
him  from  the  dilemma  and  assume  the  responsibility. 

An  individual  standing  inside  the  balustrade  in  the  space 
left  clear  round  the  marble  table,  and  whom  up  till  now  no 
one  had  noticed,  so  effectually  was  his  tall  and  spare  figure 
concealed  from  view  by  the  thickness  of  the  pillar  against 
which  he  leaned — this  person,  thin,  sallow,  light-haired,  young 
still,  though  furrowed  of  brow  and  cheek,  with  gleaming  eye 
and  smiling  mouth,  clad  in  black  serge  threadbare  and  shiny 
with  age,  now  approached  the  marble  table  and  signed  to  the 
wretched  victim.     But  the  other  was  too  perturbed  to  notice. 

The  newcomer  advanced  a  step  nearer.  "  Jupiter,"  said 
he,  "  my  dear  Jupiter." 

The  other  heard  nothing. 

At  last  the  tall  young  man  losing  patience,  shouted  almost 
in  his  face  :  "  Michel  Giborne  !  " 

"Who  calls?"  said  Jupiter,  starting  as  if  from  a  trance. 

"  It  is  I,"  answered  the  stranger  in  black. 

"  Ah !  "  said  Jupiter. 

"  Begin  at  once,"  went  on  the  other.  "  Do  you  content 
the  people — I  will  undertake  to  appease  Monsieur  the  provost, 
who,  in  his  turn,  will  appease  Monsieur  the  Cardinal." 

Jupiter  breathed  again. 

"  Messeigneurs  the  bourgeois,"  he  shouted  with  all  the 
force  of  his  lungs  to  the  audience,  which  had  not  ceased  to 
hoot  him,  "  we  are  going  to  begin." 

"  Evoe  Jupiter!    Plaiidite  cives!  "  *  yelled  the  scholars. 

"  Noel !     Noel !  "  shouted  the  people. 

There  was  a  deafening  clapping  of  hands,  and  the  Hall 
still  rocked  with  plaudits  after  Jupiter  had  retired  behind 
his  curtain. 

Meanwhile  the  unknown  personage  who  had  so  magically 
transformed  the  storm  into  a  calm,  had  modestly  re-entered 
the  penumbra  of  his  pillar,  where  doubtless  he  would  have 


*  Hail,  -Jupiter !     Citizens,  applaud ! 
19 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

remained,  unseen,  unheard,  and  motionless  as  before,  had  he 
not  been  lured  out  of  it  by  two  young  women  who,  seated  in 
the  first  row  of  spectators,  had  witnessed  his  colloquy  with 
Michel  Giborne — Jupiter. 

"  Maitre,"  said  one  of  them,  beckoning  to  him  to  come 
nearer. 

"  Hush,  my  dear  Lienarde,"  said  her  companion,  a  pretty, 
rosy-cheeked  girl,  courageous  in  the  consciousness  of  her  holi- 
day finery,  "  he  doesn't  belong  to  the  University — he's  a  lay- 
man. You  mustn't  say  '  Maitre '  to  him,  you  must  say 
'  Messire.'  " 

"  Messire,"  resumed  Lienarde. 

The  stranger  approached  the  balustrade. 

"  What  can  I  do  for  you,  mesdemoiselles  ? "  he  asked 
eagerly. 

"  Oh,  nothing !  "  said  Lienarde,  all  confused ;  "  it  is  my 
neighbour,  Gisquette  la  Gencienne,  who  wants  to  speak  to 
you." 

"  Not  at  all,"  said  Gisquette,  blushing,  "  it  was  Lienarde 
who  called  you  '  Maitre,'  and  I  told  her  she  ought  to  say 
'  Messire.'  " 

The  two  girls  cast  down  their  eyes.  The  stranger,  nothing 
loath  to  start  a  conversation  with  them,  looked  at  them 
smilingly. 

"  So  you  have  nothing  to  say  to  me,  ladies  ?  " 

"  Oh,  nothing  at  all,"  Gisquette  declared. 

"  No,  nothing,"  added  Lienarde. 

The  tall  young  man  made  as  if  to  retire,  but  the  two 
inquiring  damsels  were  not  inclined  to  let  him  go  so  soon. 

"  Messire,"  began  Gisquette  with  the  impetuous  haste  of 
a  woman  taking  a  resolve,  "  it  appears  you  are  acquainted 
with  the  soldier  who  is  going  to  play  the  part  of  Madame  the 
Virgin  in  the  Mystery." 

"  You  mean  the  part  of  Jupiter,"  returned  the  unknown. 

"  Yes,  of  course!  "  said  Lienarde.  "  Isn't  she  stupid?  So 
you  know  Jupiter?" 

"Michel  Giborne?     Yes,  madame." 

"  He  has  a  splendid  beard,"  said  Lienarde, 

"  Will  it  be  very  fine  what  they  are  going  to  say  ?  "  asked 
Gisquette  shyly. 

20 


Pierre  Gringoire 


"  Extremely  fine,  mademoiselle,"  responded  the  unknown 
without  the  slightest  hesitation. 

"  What  is  it  to  be?  "  asked  Lienarde. 

" '  The  Good  Judgment  of  Madame  the  Virgin,'  a  Morality, 
an  it  please  you,  mademoiselle." 

"Ah!  that's  different,"  rejoined  Lienarde. 

A  short  silence  ensued.     It  was  broken  by  the  young  man. 

"  It  is  an  entirely  new  Morality,"  said  he,  "  and  has  never 
been  used  before." 

"  Then  it  is  not  the  same  as  they  gave  two  years  ago  on  the 
day  of  the  entry  of  Monsieur  the  Legate,  in  which  there  were 
three  beautiful  girls  to  represent  certain  personages " 

"  Sirens,"  said  Lienarde. 

"  And  quite  naked,"  added  the  young  man. 

Lienarde  modestly  cast  down  her  eyes.  Gisquette  glanced 
at  her  and  then  followed  her  example. 

"  It  was  a  very  pleasant  sight,"  continued  the  young  man, 
unabashed.  "  But  the  Morality  to-day  was  composed  ex- 
pressly for  Madame  the  Lady  of  Flanders." 

"Will  they  sing  any  bergerettts?  "  asked  Gisquette. 

"  Fie ! "  exclaimed  the  unknown ;  "  love-songs  in  a 
Morality?  The  different  sorts  of  plays  must  not  be  con- 
founded.    Now,  if  it  were  sotie,'^  well  and  good " 

"  What  a  pity !  "  returned  Gisquette.  "  That  day  at  the 
Ponceau  fountain  there  w^ere  wild  men  and  women  who  fought 
with  one  another  and  formed  themselves  into  different  groups, 
singing  little  airs  and  love-songs." 

"  What  is  suitable  for  a  legate,"  remarked  the  unknown 
dryly,  "  would  not  be  seemly  for  a  princess." 

"  And  close  by,"  Lienarde  went  on,  "  a  number  of  deep- 
toned  instruments  played  some  wonderful  melodies." 

"  And  for  the  refreshment  of  the  passer-by,"  added  Gis- 
quette, "  the  fountains  spouted  wine  and  milk  and  hypocras 
from  three  mouths,  and  every  one  drank  that  would." 

"  And  a  little  below  the  Ponceau  fountain  at  the  Trinite," 
continued  Lienarde,  "  there  was  a  Passion  Play  acted  without 
words." 

*  A  satirical  play  very  much  in  vogue  during  the  fifteenth  and  six- 
teenth centuries. 

21 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  Yes,  so  there  was !  "  cried  Gisqiiette.  "  Our  Lord  on  the 
cross  and  the  two  thieves  to  right  and  left  of  him." 

Here  the  two  friends,  warming  to  the  recollection  of  the 
legate's  entry,  both  began  talking  at  once,  "  And  farther 
on,  at  the  Porte-aux-Peintres,  were  other  persons  very  richly 
dressed." 

"  And  at  the  Fountain  of  the  Holy  Innocents,  that  hunts- 
man pursuing  a  hind  with  great  barking  of  dogs  and  blowing 
of  horns." 

"  And  near  the  slaughter-house  of  Paris,  that  wooden  erec- 
tion representing  the  fortress  of  Dieppe." 

"  And  you  remember,  Gisquette,  just  as  the  legate  passed 
they  sounded  the  assault,  and  all  the  English  had  their  throats 
cut." 

"  And  near  the  Chatelet  Gate  were  some  very  fine  figures." 

"  And  on  the  Pont-au-Change,  too,  which  was  all  hung 
with  draperies." 

"  And  when  the  legate  passed  over  it  they  let  fly  more 
than  two  hundred  dozen  birds  of  all  kinds.  That  was  beauti- 
ful, Lienarde !  " 

"  It  will  be  far  finer  to-day,"  broke  in  their  interlocutor 
at  last,  who  had  listened  to  them  with  evident  impatience. 

"  You  can  promise  us  that  this  Mystery  will  be  a  fine 
one  ?  "  said  Gisquette. 

"  Most  assuredly  I  can,"  he  replied ;  then  added  with  a  cer- 
tain solemnity,  "  Mesdemoiselles,  I  am  myself  the  author 
of  it." 

"  Truly  ?  "  exclaimed  the  girls  in  amazement. 

"  Yes,  truly,"  asserted  the  poet  with  conscious  pride. 
"  That  is  to  say,  there  are  two  of  us — Jehan  Marchand,  who 
sawed  the  planks  and  put  up  the  wooden  structure  of  the 
theatre,  and  I,  who  wrote  the  piece.  My  name  is  Pierre 
Gringoire." 

Not  with  greater  pride  could  the  author  of  the  Cid  have 
said,  "  I  am  Pierre  Corneille." 

Our  readers  cannot  have  failed  to  note  that  some  time  had 
elapsed  between  the  moment  at  which  Jupiter  withdrew  behind 
the  curtain,  and  that  at  which  the  author  thus  abruptly  revealed 
himself  to  the  unsophisticated  admiration  of  Gisquette  and 
Lienarde.     Strange  to  say,  all  this  crowd,  so  tumultuous  but 

22 


Pierre   Gringoire 

a  few  minutes  ago,  were  now  waiting  patiently  with  implicit 
faith  in  the  player's  word.  A  proof  of  the  everlasting  truth 
still  demonstrated  in  our  theatres,  that  the  best  means  of 
making  the  public  wait  patiently  is  to  assure  them  that  the 
performance  is  about  to  begin. 

However,  the  scholar  Joannes  was  not  so  easily  lulled. 
"  Hola !  "  he  shouted  suddenly  into  the  midst  of  the  peaceful 
expectation  which  had  succeeded  the  uproar,  "Jupiter! 
Madame  the  Virgin!  Ye  devil's  mountebanks!  would  you 
mock  us?  The  piece !  the  piece.  Do  you  begin  this  moment, 
or  we  will " 

This  was  enough.  Immediately  a  sound  of  music  from 
high-  and  low-pitched  instruments  was  heard  underneath  the 
structure,  the  curtain  was  raised,  four  party-coloured  and 
painted  figures  issued  from  it,  and  clambering  up  the  steep 
ladder  on  to  the  upper  platform,  ranged  themselves  in  a  row 
fronting  the  audience,  whom  they  greeted  with  a  profound 
obeisance.     The  symphony  then  ceased.     The  Mystery  began. 

After  receiving  ample  meed  of  applause  in  return  for  their 
bows,  the  four  characters  proceeded,  amid  profound  silence, 
to  deliver  a  prologue  which  we  willingly  spare  the  reader. 
Besides,  just  as  in  our  own  day,  the  public  was  far  more  inter- 
ested in  the  costumes  the  actors  wore  than  the  parts  they 
enacted — and  therein  they  chose  the  better  part. 

All  four  were  attired  in  party-coloured  robes,  half  yellow, 
half  white,  dififering  from  one  another  only  in  material ;  the 
first  being  of  gold  and  silver  brocade,  the  second  of  silk,  the 
third  of  woollen  stufif,  the  fourth  of  linen.  The  first  of  these 
figures  carried  a  sword  in  his  right  hand,  the  second  two 
golden  keys,  the  third  a  pair  of  scales,  the  fourth  a  spade ; 
and  for  the  benefit  of  such  sluggish  capacities  as  might  have 
failed  to  penetrate  the  transparency  of  these  attributes,  on  the 
hem  of  the  brocade  robe  was  embroidered  in  enormous  black 
letters,  "  I  am  Nobility,"  on  the  silk  one  "  I  am  Clergy,"  on 
the  woolleir^one  "  t  am  Commerce,"  on  the  linen  one  "  I  am 
Labour."  The  sex  of  the  two  male  allegories  was  plainly 
indicated  by  the  comparative  shortness  of  their  tunics  and 
their  Phrygian  caps,  whereas  the  female  characters  wore  robes 
of  ample  length  and  hoods  on  their  heads. 

It  would  also  have  required  real  perverseness  not  to  have 

23 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

understood  from  the  poetic  imagery  of  the  prologue  that 
Labour  was  espoused  to  Commerce,  and  Clergy  to  Nobility, 
and  that  the  two  happy  couples  possessed  between  them  a" 
magnificent  golden  dolphin  (dauphin)  which  they  proposed 
to  adjudge  only  to  the  most  beautiful  damsel.  Accordingly, 
thej  were  roaming  the  world  in  search  of  this  Fair  One,  and, 
after  rejecting  successively  the  Queen  of  Golconda,  the  Prin- 
cess of  Trebizonde,  the  daughter  of  the  Grand  Khan  of  Tar- 
tary,  etc,  etc..  Labour  and  Commerce,  Clergy  and  Nobility, 
had  come  to  rest  themselves  awhile  on  the  marble  table  of  the 
Palais  de  Justice,  and  to  deliver  themselves  before  an  hon- 
oured audience  of  a  multitude  of  sententious  phrases,  moral 
maxims,  sophisms,  flowers  of  speech,  as  were  freely  dispensed 
in  those  days  by  the  Faculty  of  Arts  or  at  the  examinations 
at  wdiich  the  Masters  took  their  degree. 

All  this  was,  in  effect,  very  fine. 

Meanwhile,  in  all  that  crowd  over  which  the  four  alle- 
gorical figures  were  pouring  out  floods  of  metaphor,  no  ear 
was  more  attentive,  no  heart  more  palpitating,  no  eye  more 
eager,  no  neck  more  outstretched  than  the  eye,  the  ear,  the 
heart,  the  neck  of  the  poet-author,  our  good  Pierre  Gringoire, 
who  but  a  little  wdiile  before  had  been  unable  to  resist  the 
joy  of  revealing  his  name  to  a  couple  of  pretty  girls.  He  had 
retired  again  behind  his  pillar,  a  few  paces  from  them,  where 
he  stood  gazing,  listening,  relishing.  The  favourable  applause 
which  had  greeted  the  opening  of  his  prologue  was  still  thrill- 
ing through  his  vitals ;  and  he  was  completely  carried  away  by 
that  kind  of  contemplative  ecstasy  with  which  the  dramatic 
author  follows  his  ideas  as  they  drop  one  by  one  from  the  lips 
of  the  actor  amid  the  silence  of  a  vast  audience.  Happy 
Pierre  Gringoire ! 

Sad  to  say,  however,  this  first  ecstasy  was  but  of  short  du- 
ration. Scarcely  had  Gringoire  raised  this  intoxicating  cup 
of  triumph  and  delight  to  his  lips  than  a  drop  of  bitterness 
came  to  mingle  with  it. 

A  beggar,  a  shocking  tatterdemalion,  too  tightly  squeezed 
in  among  the  crowd  to  be  able  to  collect  his  usual  harvest,  or, 
in  all  probability,  had  not  found  sufficient  to  indemnify  him- 
self in  the  pockets  of  his  immediate  neighbours,  had  conceived 
the  bright  idea  of  perching  himself  in  some  conspicuous  spot 

24 


Pierre  Gringoire 


from  whence  he  might  attract  the  gaze  and  the  alms  of  the 
benevolent.  To  this  end,  during  the  opening  lines  of  the 
prologue,  he  had  managed  to  hoist  himself  up  by  the  pillars 
of  the  reserved  platform  on  to  the  cornice  which  projected 
around  the  foot  of  its  balustrade,  where  he  seated  himself, 
soliciting  the  attention  and  the  pity  of  the  throng  by  his  rags 
and  a  hideous  sore  covering  his  right  arm.  He  did  not,  how- 
ever, utter  a  word. 

The  silence  he  preserved  allowed  of  the  prologue  pro- 
ceeding without  let  or  hindrance,  nor  would  any  noticeable 
disturbance  have  occurred  if,  as  luck  would  have  it,  the 
scholar  Jehan  had  not,  from  his  own  high  perch,  espied  the 
beggar  and  his  antics.  A  wild  fit  of  laughter  seized  the  grace- 
less young  rascal,  and,  unconcerned  at  interrupting  the  per- 
formance and  distracting  the  attention  of  the  audience,  he 
cried  delightedly : 

"  Oh,  look  at  that  old  fraud  over  there  begging !  " 

Any  one  who  has  ever  thrown  a  stone  into  a  frog-pond, 
or  fired  into  a  covey  of  birds,  will  have  some  idea  of  the 
effect  of  these  incongruous  words  breaking  in  upon  the  all- 
pervading  quiet.  Gringoire  started  as  if  he  had  received  an 
electric  shock.  The  prologue  broke  off  short,  and  all  heads 
turned  suddenly  towards  the  beggar,  who,  far  from  being 
disconcerted,  only  saw  in  this  incident  an  excellent  oppor- 
tunity for  gathering  a  harvest,  and  at  once  began  whining  in 
a  piteous  voice  with  half-closed  eyes :  "  Charity,  I  pray  you !  " 

"  Why,  upon  my  soul !  "  cried  Jehan,  "  if  it  isn't  Clopin 
Trouillefou !  Hola !  friend,  so  thy  sore  was  troublesome  on 
thy  leg  that  thou  hast  removed  it  to  thipe  arm  ? "  and  so 
saying,  with  the  dexterity  of  a  monkey  he  tossed  a  small 
silver  piece  into  the  greasy  old  beaver  which  the  beggar  held 
out  with  his  diseased  arm.  The  man  received  both  alms  and 
sarcasm  without  wincing,  and  resumed  his  doleful  petition : 
"  Charity,  I  pray  you  !  " 

This  episode  had  distracted  the  audience  not  a  little,  and 
a  good  many  of  the  spectators,  Robin  Poussepain  and  the 
rest  of  the  students  at  the  head,  delightedly  applauded  this 
absurd  duet  improvised  in  the  middle  of  the  prologue  between 
the  scholar  with  his  shrill,  piping  voice,  and  the  beggar  with 
his  imperturbable  whine. 

25 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Gringoire  was  seriously  put  out.  Recovering  from  his 
first  stupefaction,  he  pulled  himself  together  hurriedly  and 
shouted  to  the  four  actors  on  the  stage:  "  Go  on!  que  diable! 
go  on !  "  without  deigning  even  a  glance  of  reprobation  at 
the  two  brawlers. 

At  that  moment  he  felt  a  pluck  at  the  edge  of  his  surcoat, 
and  turning  round,  not  in  the  best  of  humours,  he  forced 
an  unwilling  smile  to  his  lips,  for  it  was  the  pretty  hand  of 
Gisquette  la  Gencienne  thrust  through  the  balustrade  and 
thus  soliciting  his  attention. 

"  Monsieur,"  said  the  girl,  "  are  they  going  on  ?  " 

"  To  be  sure,"  Gringoire  replied,  half  offended  by  the 
question. 

"  In  that  case,  messire,"  she  continued,  "  will  you  of  your 
courtesy  explain  to  me " 

"  What  they  are  going  to  say  ? "  broke  in  Gringoire. 
"  Well,  listen." 

"  No,"  said  Gisquette ;  "  but  what  they  have  already  said." 

Gringoire  started  violently  like  a  man  touched  in  an  open 
wound.  "  A  pestilence  on  the  witless  little  dunce !  "  he  mut- 
tered between  his  teeth ;  and  from  that  moment  Gisquette 
was  utterly  lost  in  his  estimation. 

Meanwhile  the  actors  had  obeyed  his  injunction,  and  the 
public,  seeing  that  they  were  beginning  to  speak,  resettled 
itself  to  listen;  not,  however,  without  having  lost  many  a 
beautiful  phrase  in  the  soldering  of  the  two  parts  of  the  piece 
which  had  so  abruptly  been  cut  asunder.  Gringoire  reflected 
bitterly  on  this  fact.  However,  tranquility  had  gradually  been 
restored,  Jehan  was  silent,  the  beggar  was  counting  the  small 
change  in  his  hat,  and  the  play  had  once  more  got  the 
upper  hand. 

Sooth  to  say,  it  was  a  very  fine  work  which,  it  seems  to 
us,  might  well  be  turned  to  account  even  now  with  a  few 
modifications.  The  exposition,  perhaps  somewhat  lengthy 
and  dry,  but  strictly  according  to  prescribed  rules,  was  simple, 
and  Gringoire,  in  the  inner  sanctuary  of  his  judgment,  frankly 
admired  its  perspicuity. 

As  one  might  very  well  suppose,  the  four  allegorical  per- 
sonages were  somewhat  fatigued  after  having  travelled  over 
three  parts  of  the  globe  without  finding  an  opportunity  of 

26 


Pierre  Gringoire 


disposing  suitably  of  their  golden  dolphin.  Thereupon,  a 
■^ong  eulogy  on  the  marvellous  fish,  with  a  thousand  delicate 
allusions  to  the  young  betrothed  of  Marguerite  of  Flanders — 
who  at  that  moment  was  languishing  in  dismal  seclusion  at 
Amboise,  entirely  unaware  that  Labour  and  Clergy,  Nobility 
and  Commerce,  had  just  made  the  tour  of  the  world  on  his 
behalf.  The  said  dolphin,  then,  w^as  handsome,  was  young, 
v/as  brave ;  above  all  (splendid  origin  of  all  the  royal  virtues) 
he  was  the  son  of  the  Lion  of  France.  Now  I  maintain  that 
tEis  bold  metaphor  is  admirable,  and  the  natural  history  of  the 
stage  has  no  occasion  on  a  day  of  allegory  and  royal  epitha- 
lamium  to  take  exception  at  a  dolphin  who  is  son  to  a  lion. 
These  rare  and  Pindaric  combinations  merely  prove  the  poet's 
enthusiasm.  Nevertheless,  in  justice  to  fair  criticism  be  it 
said,  the  poet  might  have  developed  this  beautiful  idea  in  less 
than  two  hundred  lines.  On  the  other  hand,  by  the  arrange- 
ments of  Monsieur  the  Provost,  the  Mystery  was  to  last  from 
noon  till  four  o'clock,  and  they  were  obliged  to  say  something. 
Besides,  the  people  listened  very  patiently. 

Suddenly,  in  the  very  middle  of  a  quarrel  between  Dame 
Commerce  and  my  Lady  Nobility,  and  just  as  Labour  was 
pronouncing  this  wonderful  line : 

"Beast  more  triumphant  ne'er  in  woods  I've  seen," 

the  door  of  the  reserved  platform  which  up  till  then  had 
remained  inopportunely  closed,  now  opened  still  more  inop- 
portunely, and  the  stentorian  voice  of  the  usher  announced 
"  His  Eminence  Monseigneur  the  Cardinal  de  Bourbon ! " 


HI 


THE    CARDINAL 


Alas,  poor  Gringoire !  The  noise  of  the  double  petards 
let  oflf  on  Saint-John's  Day,  a  salvo  of  twenty  arquebuses,  the 
thunder  of  the  famous  culverin  of  the  Tour  de  Billy,  which 
on   September  29,    1465,   during  the   siege   of   Paris,   killed 

27 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

seven  Burgundians  at  a  blow,  the  explosion  of  the  whole 
stock  of  gunpowder  stored  at  the  Temple  Gate  would  have 
assailed  his  ears  less  rudely  at  this  solemn  and  dramatic 
moment  than  those  few  words  from  the  lips  of  the  usher: 
"  His  Eminence  the  Cardinal  de  Bourbon !  " 

Not  that  Pierre  Gringoire  either  feared  the  Cardinal  or 
despised  him ;  he  was  neither  so  weak  nor  so  presumptuous. 
A  true  eclectic,  as  nowadays  he  would  be  called,  Gringoire 
was  of  those  firm  and  elevated  spirits,  moderate  and  calm^ 
who  ever  maintain  an  even  balance — stare  in  dimidio  rerum — 
arid  who  are  full  of  sense  and  liberal  philosophy,  to  whom 
Wisdom,  like  another  Ariadne,  seems  to  have  given  a  ball 
of  thread  which  they  have  gone  on  unwinding  since  the  be- 
ginning of  all  things  through  the  labyrinthine  paths  of  human 
afifairs.  One  comes  upon  them  in  all  ages  and  ever  the  same ; 
that  is  to  say,  ever  conforming  to  the  times.  And  without 
counting  our  Pierre  Gringoire,  who  would  represent  them  in 
the  fifteenth  century  if  we  could  succeed  in  conferring  on  him 
the  distinction  he  merits,  it  was  certainly  their  spirit  which 
inspired  Father  de  Bruel  in  the  sixteenth  century,  when  he 
wrote  the  following  sublimely  naive  w^ords,  worthy  of  all  ages : 
"  I  am  Parisian  by  nation,  and  parrhisian  by  speech,  since 
parrhisia  in  Greek  signifies  freedom  of  speech,  which  freedom 
I  have  used  even  towards  Messeigneurs  the  Cardinals,  uncle 
and  brother  to  Monseigneur  the  Prince  de  Conty :  albeit  with 
due  respect  for  their  high  degree  and  without  offending  any 
one  of  their  train,  which  is  saying  much." 

There  was  therefore  neither  dislike  of  the  Cardinal  nor 
contemptuous  indifference  to  his  presence  in  the  unpleasing 
impression  made  on  Gringoire.  Quite  the  contrary ;  for  our 
poet  had  too  much  common  sense  and  too  threadbare  a 
doublet  not  to  attach  particular  value  to  the  fact  that  many 
an  allusion  in  his  prologue,  and  more  especially  the  glorifica- 
tion of  the  dolphin,  son  of  the  Lion  of  France,  would  fall 
upon  the  ear  of  an  Eminentissime.  But  self-interest  is  not  the 
predominating  quality  in  the  noble  nature  of  the  poet.  Sup- 
posing the  entity  of  the  poet  to  be  expressed  by  the  number 
ten,  it  is  certain  that  a  chemist  in  analyzing  and  "  pharma- 
copoeizing  "  it,  as  Rabelais  terms  it,  would  find  it  to  be  com- 
posed of  one  part  self-interest  to  nine  parts  of  self-esteem. 

28 


The  Cardinal 

Now,  at  the  moment  when  the  door  opened  for  the  Cardinal's 
entry,  Gringoire's  nine  parts  of  self-esteem,  swollen  and  in- 
flated by  the  breath  of  popular  admiration,  were  in  a  state 
of  prodigious  enlargement,  obliterating  that  almost  imper- 
ceptible molecule  of  self-interest  which  we  just  now  pointed 
out  as  a  component  part  of  the  poet's  constitution — a  priceless 
ingredient,  be  it  said,  the  ballast  of  common  sense  and  hu- 
manity, without  which  they  would  forever  wander  in  the 
clouds.  Gringoire  was  revelling  in  the  delights  of  seeing, 
of,  so  to  speak,  touching,  an  entire  assemblage  (common  folk, 
it  is  true,  but  what  of  that?)  stunned,  petrified,  suffocated 
almost  by  the  inexhaustible  flow  of  words  which  poured  down 
upon  them  from  every  point  of  his  epithalamium,  I  affirm 
that  he  shared  in  the  general  beatitude,  and  that,  unlike  La 
Fontaine,  who,  at  the  performance  of  his  comedy  Florentin, 
inquired,  "  What  bungler  wrote  this  balderdash?  "  Gringoire 
would  gladly  have  asked  his  neighbours,  "  Who  is  the  author 
of  this  master-piece  ?  "  Judge,  therefore,  of  the  effect  pro- 
duced on  him  by  the  abrupt  and  ill-timed  arrival  of  the 
Cardinal. 

And  his  worst  fears  were  but  too  fully  realized.  The  entry 
of  his  Eminence  set  the  whole  audience  in  commotion. 
Every  head  was  turned  towards  the  gallery.  You  could  not 
hear  yourself  speak.  "  The  Cardinal !  The  Cardinal !  "  re- 
sounded from  every  mouth.  For  the  second  time  the  un- 
fortunate prologue  came  to  an  abrupt  stop. 

The  Cardinal  halted  for  a  moment  on  the  threshold  of 
the  platform,  and  while  he  cast  a  glance  of  indifiference  over 
the  crowd  the  uproar  increased.  Each  one  wanted  a  good 
view,  and  strained  to  raise  his  head  above  his  neighbour's. 

And  in  truth  he  was  a  very  exalted  personage,  the  sight 
of  whom  was  worth  any  amount  of  Mysteries.  Charles, 
Cardinal  de  Bourbon,  Archbishop  and  Count  of  Lyons,  Pri- 
mate of  all  Gaul,  was  related  to  Louis  XI  through  his  brother, 
Pierre,  Lord  of  Beaujeu,  who  had  married  the  King's  eldest 
daughter,  and  to  Charles  the  Bold  through  his  mother,  Agnes 
of  Burgundy.  The  dominant  trait,  the  prevailing  and  most 
striking  feature  in  the  character  of  the  Primate  of  Gaul,  was 
his  courtier  spirit  and  unswerving  devotion  to  the  powers  that 
be.     One  may  imagine  the  innumerable  perplexities  in  which 

29 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

these  two  relationships  involved  him,  and  through  what 
temporal  shoals  he  had  to  steer  his  spiritual  bark  in  order  to 
avoid  being  wrecked  either  on  Louis  or  on  Charles,  that 
Scylla  and  Charybdis  which  had  swallowed  up  both  the  Duke 
of  Nemours  and  the  Constable  of  Saint-Pol.  .  Heaven  be 
praised,  however,  he  had  managed  the  voyage  well,  and  had 
come  safely  to  anchor  in  Rome  without  mishap.  Yet,  al- 
though he  was  in  port,  and  precisely  because  he  was  in  port, 
he  never  recalled  without  a  qualm  of  uneasiness  the  many 
changes  and  chances  of  his  long  and  stormy  political  voyage, 
and  he  often  said  that  the  year  1476  had  been  for  him  both 
black  and  white ;  meaning  that  in  that  year  he  had  lost  his 
mother,  the  Duchess  of  Bourbonnais,  and  his  cousin,  the 
Duke  of  Burgundy,  and  that  the  one  death  had  consoled  hi,m 
for  the  other. 

For  the  rest,  he  was  a  proper  gentleman;  led  the  pleasant 
life  befitting  a  cardinal,  was  ever  willing  to  make  merry  on 
the  royal  vintage  of  Chaillot,  had  no  objection  to  Richarde 
de  la  Garmoise  and  Thomasse  la  Saillarde,  would  rather  give 
alms  to  a  pretty  girl  than  an  old  woman,  for  all  of  which 
reasons  he  was  high  in  favour  with  the  populace  of  Paris. 
He  was  always  surrounded  by  a  little  court  of  bishops  and 
abbots  of  high  degree,  gay  and  sociable  gentlemen,  never 
averse  to  a  thorough  good  dinner;  and  many  a  time  had  the 
pious  gossips  of  Saint-Germain  d'Auxerre  been  scandalized  in 
passing  at  night  under  the  lighted  windows  of  the  Hotel  de 
Bourbon,  to  hear  the  selfsame  voices  which  erstwhile  had 
chanted  vespers  for  them  now  trolling  out,  to  the  jingle  of 
glasses,  the  bacchanalian  verses  of  Benedict  XH  (the  Pope 
who  added  the  third  crown  to  the  tiara)  beginning  "  Bibamus 
papaliter  "  (Let  us  drink  like  Popes). 

Without  doubt  it  was  this  well-earned  popularity  which 
saved  him  from  any  demonstration  of  ill-will  on  the  part  of 
the  crowd,  so  dissatisfied  but  a  moment  before,  and  but  little 
disposed  to  evince  respect  towards  a  Cardinal  on  the  very 
day  they  were  going  to  elect  a  Pope  of  their  own.  But  the 
Parisians  bear  very  little  malice ;  besides,  having  forced  the 
performance  to  commence  of  their  own  authority,  they  had 
worsted  the  Cardinal,  and  their  victor}^  sufficed  them.  More- 
over, Monseigneur  was  a  handsome  man,  and  he  wore  his 

30 


The  Cardinal 

handsome  red  robe  excellently  well;  which  is  equivalent  to 
saying  that  he  had  all  the  women,  and  consequently  the 
greater  part  of  the  audience,  on  his  side.  Decidedly  it  would 
have  shown  great  want  both  of  justice  and  of  good  taste  to 
hoot  a  Cardinal  for  coming  late  to  the  play,  when  he  is  a 
handsome  man  and  wears  his  red  robe  with  so  handsome 
an  air. 

He  entered  then,  greeted  the  audience  with  that  smile 
which  the  great  instinctively  bestow  upon  the  people,  awd 
slowly  directed  his  steps  towards  his  chair  of  scarlet  velvet, 
his  mind  obviously  preoccupied  by  some  very  different  matter. 
His  train,  or  what  we  should  now  call  his  staff,  of  bishops 
and  abbots,  streamed  after  him  on  to  the  platform,  greatly 
increasing  the  disturbance  and  the  curiosity  down  among  the 
spectators.  Each  one  was  anxious  to  point  them  out  or  name 
them,  to  show  that  he  knew  at  least  one  of  them ;  some  point- 
ing to  the  Bishop  of  Marseilles — Alaudet,  if  I  remember  right 
— some  to  the  Dean  of  Saint-Denis,  others  again  to  Robert  de 
Lespinasse,  Abbot  of  Saint-Germain-des-Pres,  the  dissolute 
brother  of  a  mistress  of  Louis  XI,  all  with  much  ribald  laugh- 
ter and  scurrilous  jesting. 

As  for  the  scholars,  they  swore  like  troopers.  This  was 
their  own  especial  day,  their  Feast  of  Fools,  their  Saturnalia, 
the  annual  orgy  of  the  Basoche  *  and  the  University — no 
turpitude,  no  foulness  of  language  but  was  right  and  proper 
to  that  day.  Besides,  there  was  many  a  madcap  light  o'  love 
down  in  the  crowd  to  spur  them  on — Simone  Ouatrelivres, 
Agnes  la  Gadine,  Robine  Piedebou.  It  was  the  least  that 
could  be  expected,  that  they  should  be  allowed  to  curse  at 
their  ease  and  blaspheme  a  little  on  so  joyful  an  occasion  and 
in  such  good  company — churchmen  and  courtesans.  Nor  did 
they  hesitate  to  take  full  advantage  thereof,  and  into  the  midst 
of  the  all-prevailing  hubbub  there  poured  an  appalling  torrent 
of  blasphemies  and  enormities  of  every  description  from  these 
clerks  and  scholars,  tongue-tied  all  the  rest  of  the  year 
through  fear  of  the  branding-iron  of  Saint-Louis.  Poor  Saint- 
Louis,  they  were  snapping  their  fingers  at  him  in  his  own 
Palais  de  Justice.     Each  one  of  them  had  singled  out  among 


The  company  and  jurisdiction  of  the  Paris  lawyers,  founded  1303. 

31 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

the  new  arrivals  some  cassock — black  or  gray,  white  or  violet 
— Joannes  Frollo  de  Molendino,  as  brother  to  an  archdeacon, 
having  audaciously  assailed  the  red  robe,  fixing  his  bold  eyes 
on  the  Cardinal  and  yelling  at  the  pitch  of  his  voice,  "  Cappa 
rcplcta  mero!"     Oh,  cassock  full  of  wine! 

But  all  these  details  which  we  thus  lay  bare  for  the  edifica- 
tion of  the  reader  were  so  overborne  by  the  general  clamour 
that  they  failed  altogether  to  reach  the  reserved  platform.  In 
any  case  the  Cardinal  would  have  taken  but  little  heed  of 
them,  such  license  being  entirely  in  keeping  with  the  man- 
ners of  the  day.  Besides,  his  mind  was  full  of  something  else, 
as  was  evident  by  his  preoccupied  air;  a  cause  of  concern 
which  followed  close  upon  his  heels  and  entered  almost  at 
the  time  with  him  on  to  the  platform.  This  was  the  Flemish 
Embassy. 

Not  that  he  was  a  profound  politician  and  thus  concerned 
for  the  possible  consequences  of  the  marriage  between  his 
one  cousin,  Madame  Marguerite  of  Burgundy,  and  his  other 
cousin,  the  Dauphin  Charles ;  little  he  cared  how  long  the 
patched-up  friendship  between  the  Duke  of  Austria  and  the 
King  of  France  would  last,  nor  how  the  King  of  England 
would  regard  this  slight  offered  to  his  daughter,  and  he  drank 
freely  each  evening  of  the  royal  vintage  of  Chaillot,  never 
dreaming  that  a  few  flagons  of  this  same  wine  (somewhat 
revised  and  corrected,  it  is  true),  cordially  presented  to  Ed- 
ward IV  by  Louis  XI,  would  serve  one  fine  day  to  rid  Louis 
XI  of  Edward  IV.  No,  "  the  most  honourable  Embassy  of 
Monsieur  the  Duke  of  Austria  "  brought  none  of  these  anxie- 
ties to  the  Cardinal's  mind ;  the  annoyance  came  from  another 
quarter.  In  truth,  it  was  no  small  hardship,  as  we  have 
already  hinted  at  the  beginning  of  this  book,  that  he,  Charles 
of  Bourbon,  should  be  forced  to  offer  a  courteous  welcome 
and  entertainment  to  a  squad  of  unknown  burghers ;  he,  the 
Cardinal,  receive  mere  sheriffs ;  he,  the  Frenchman,  a  polished 
hon-viveur,  and  these  beer-drinking  Flemish  boors — and  all 
this  in  public  too!  Faith,  it  was  one  of  the  most  irksome 
parts  he  had  ever  had  to  play  at  the  good  pleasure  of  the 
King. 

However,  he  had  studied  that  part  so  well,  that  when  the 
usher  announced  in  sonorous  tones,  "  Messieurs,  the  Envoys 

32 


The  Cardinal 

of  Monsieur  the  Duke  of  Austria,"  he  turned  towards  the 
door  with  the  most  courteous  grace  in  the  world.  Needless 
to  say,  every  head  in  the  Hall  turned  in  the  same  direction. 

Thereupon  there  entered,  walking  two  and  two,  and  with 
a  gravity  of  demeanour  which  contrasted  strongly  with  the 
flippant  manner  of  the  Cardinal's  ecclesiastical  following,  the 
forty-eight  ambassadors  of  Maximilian  of  Austria,  led  by  the 
Reverend  Father  in  God,  Jehan,  Abbot  of  Saint-Bertin,  Chan- 
cellor of  the  Golden  Fleece,  and  Jacques  de  Goy,  Sieur  Dauby, 
baillie  of  Ghent.  Deep  silence  fell  upon  the  assemblage,  only 
broken  by  suppressed  titters  at  the  uncouth  names  and  bour- 
geois qualifications  which  each  of  these  persons  transmitted 
with  imperturbable  gravity  to  the  usher,  who  proceeded  to 
hurl  name  and  title  unrecognisably  mixed  and  mutilated,  at 
'the  crowd  below.  There  was  Master  Loys  Roelof,  Sheriff  of 
the  City  of  Louvain  ;  Messire  Clays  d'Etuelde,  Sheriff  of  Brus- 
sels; Messire  Paul  de  Baeust,  Sieur  of  Voirmizelle,  President 
of  Flanders ;  Master  Jehan  Coleghens,  Burgomaster  of  the 
City  of  Antwerp ;  Master  George  de  la  Moere,  High  Sheriff 
of  the  Court  of  Law  of  the  City  of  Ghent;  Master  Gheldolf 
van  der  Hage,  High  Sheriff  to  the  Parchons,  or  Succession 
Offices  of  the  same  city ;  and  the  Sieur  de  Bierbecque,  and 
Jehan  Pinnock,  and  Jehan  Dymaerzelle,  and  so  on  and  so  on ; 
baillies,  sheriffs,  burgomasters ;  burgomasters,  sheriffs,  baillies ; 
wooden,  formal  figures,  stiff  with  velvet  and  damask,  their 
heads  covered  by  birettas  of  black  velvet  with  great  tassels 
of  gold  thread  of  Cyprus — good  Flemish  heads,  nevertheless, 
dignified  and  sober  faces,  akin  to  those  which  stand  out  so 
strong  and  earnest  from  the  dark  background  of  Rembrandt's 
"  Night  Round  " ;  faces  which  all  bore  witness  to  the  perspi- 
cacity of  Maximilian  of  Austria  in  confiding  "  to  the  full"  as 
his  manifesto  ran,  "  in  their  good  sense,  valour ,  experietice, 
loyalty,  and  high  principles." 

There  was  one  exception,  however,  a  subtle,  intelligent, 
crafty  face,  a  curious  mixture  of  the  ape  and  the  diplomatist, 
towards  whom  the  Cardinal  advanced  three  paces  and  bowed 
profoundly,  but  who,  nevertheless,  was  simply  named  Guil- 
laume  Rym,  Councillor  and  Pensionary*  of  the  City  of  Ghent. 

*  Title,  in  those  days,  of  the  first  Minister  of  State  in  Holland. 

33 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Few  people  at  that  time  recognised  the  true  significance  of 
Guillaume  Rym.  A  rare  genius  who,  in  revolutionary  times, 
would  have  appeared  upon  the  surface  of  events,  the  fifteenth 
century  compelled  him  to  expend  his  fine  capacities  on  under- 
ground intrigue — to  live  in  the  saps,  as  Saint-Simon  expresses 
it.  For  the  rest,  he  found  full  appreciation  with  the  first 
"  sapper  "  of  Europe,  being  intimately  associated  with  Louis 
XI  in  his  plots,  and  often  had  a  hand  in  the  secret  machina- 
tions of  the  King.  All  of  which  things  were  entirely  beyond 
the  ken  of  the  multitude,  who  were  much  astonished  at  the 
deferential  politeness  of  the  Cardinal  towards  this  insignificant- 
looking  little  Flemish  functionary. 


IV 

MASTER  JACQUES    COPPENOLE 

While  the  Pensionary  of  Ghent  and  his  Eminence  were 
exchanging  very  low  bows  and  a  few  words  in  a  tone  still 
lower,  a  tall  man,  large-featured  and  of  powerful  build,  pre- 
pared to  enter  abreast  with  Gviillaume  Rym — the  mastifif  with 
the  fox — his  felt  hat  and  leathern  jerkin  contrasting  oddly 
with  all  the  surrounding  velvet  and  silk.  Presuming  that  it 
was  some  groom  gone  astray,  the  usher  stopped  him : 

"  Hold,  friend,  this  is  not  your  way !  " 

The  man  in  the  leathern  jerkin  shouldered  him  aside. 

"  What  does  the  fellow  want  of  me  ?  "  said  he  in  a  voice 
which  drew  the  attention  of  the  entire  Hall  to  the  strange 
colloquy;  "  seest  not  that  I  am  one  of  them?" 

"  Your  name  ?  "  demanded  the  usher. 

"  Jacques  Coppenole." 

"  Your  degree  ?  " 

"  Hosier,  at  the  sign  of  the  '  Three  Chains  '  in  Ghent." 

The  usher  recoiled.  To  announce  sheriff  and  burgomaster 
was  bad  enough ;  but  a  hosier — no,  that  passed  all  bounds ! 
The  Cardinal  was  on  thorns.  Everybody  was  staring  and 
listening.  For  two  whole  days  had  his  Eminence  been  doing 
his  utmost  to  lick  these  Flemish  bears  into  shape  in  order 

34 


Master  Jacques   Coppenole 

to  make  them  somewhat  presentable  in  public — this  contre- 
temps was  a  rude  shock. 

Meanwhile  Guillaume  Rym  turned  to  the  usher  and  with 
his  diplomatic  smile,  "  Announce  Maitre  Jacques  Coppenole, 
Clerk  to  the  Sheriffs  of  the  City  of  Ghent,"  he  whispered  to 
him  very  softly. 

"  Usher,"  added  the  Cardinal  loudly,  "  announce  Maitre 
Jacques  Coppenole,  Clerk  to  the  Sheriffs  of  the  illustrious 
City  of  Ghent." 

This  was  a  mistake.  Left  to  himself,  Guillaume  Rym 
would  have  dexterously  settled  the  difficulty ;  but  Coppenole 
had  heard  the  Cardinal. 

"  No,  Croix-Dieu !  "  he  said  in  a  voice  of  thunder,  "  Jac- 
ques Coppenole,  hosier.  Hearest  thou,  usher?  Nothing- 
more,  nothing  less !  God's  cross !  Hosier  is  as  fine  a  title 
as  any  other!  Many  a  time  Monsieur  the  Archduke  has 
looked  for  his  glove  *  among  my  hose !  " 

There  was  a  roar  of  laughter  and  applause.  A  pun  is 
instantly  taken  up  in  Paris,  and  never  fails  of  applause. 

Add  to  this  that  Coppenole  was  one  of  the  people,  and 
that  the  throng  beneath  him  was  also  composed  of  the  peoplCj 
wherefore,  the  understanding  between  them  and  him  had  been 
instantaneous,  electric,  and,  so  to  speak,  from  the  same  point 
of  view.  The  Flemish  hosier's  high  and  mighty  way  of  put- 
ting down  the  courtiers  stirred  in  these  plebeian  breasts  a  cer- 
tain indefinable  sense  of  self-respect,  vague  and  embryonic 
as  yet  in  the  fifteenth  century.  And  this  hosier,  who  just 
now  had  held  his  own  so  stoutly  before  the  Cardinal,  was  one 
of  themselves — a  most  comfortable  reflection  to  poor  devils 
accustomed  to  pay  respect  and  obedience  to  the  servants  of 
the  servants  of  the  Abbot  of  Sainte-Genevieve,  the  Cardinal's 
train-bearer. 

Coppenole  saluted  his  Eminence  haughtily,  who  courte- 
ously returned  the  greeting  of  the  all-powerful  burgher,  whom 
even  Louis  XI  feared.  Then,  while  Guillaume  Rym,  ''  that 
shrewd  and  malicious  man,"  as  Philippe  de  Comines  says, 
followed  them  both  with  a  mocking  and  supercilious  smile, 


*  A  pun  on  the  word  ganf  (glove)  and  Gatid,  the  French  name  for  the 
city  of  Ghent. 

35 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

each  soiigfht  their  appointed  place,  the  Cardinal  discomfited 
and  anxious,  Coppenole  calm  and  dignified,  and  thinking  no 
doubt  that  after  all  his  title  of  hosier  was  as  good  as  any 
other,  and  that  Mary  of  Burgundy,  the  mother  of  that  Mar- 
garet whose  marriage  Coppenole  was  helping  to  arrange, 
would  have  feared  him  less  as  cardinal  than  as  hosier.  For 
it  was  not  a  cardinal  who  would  have  stirred  up  the  people 
of  Ghent  against  the  favourites  of  the  daughter  of  Charles 
the  Bold,  and  no  cardinal  could  have  hardened  the  crowd  with 
a  word  against  her  tears  and  entreaties  when  the  Lady  of 
Flanders  came  to  supplicate  her  people  for  them,  even  at  the 
foot  of  their  scaffold ;  whereas  the  hosier  had  but  to  lift  his 
leather-clad  arm,  and  off  went  your  heads  my  fine  gentlemen. 
Seigneur  Guy  d'Hymbercourt  and  Chancellor  Guillaurae 
Hugonet ! 

Yet  this  was  not  all  that  was  in  store  for  the  poor  Cardinal ; 
he  was  to  drink  to  the  dregs  the  cup  of  humiliation — the  pen- 
alty of  being  in  such  low  company. 

The  reader  may  perhaps  remember  the  impudent  mendi- 
cant who,  at  the  beginning  of  the  Prologue,  had  established 
himself  upon  the  projection  just  below  the  Cardinal's  plat- 
form. The  arrival  of  the  illustrious  guests  had  in  nowise 
made  him  quit  his  position,  and  while  prelates  and  ambassa- 
dors were  packed  on  the  narrow  platform  like  Dutch  herrings 
in  a  barrel,  the  beggar  sat  quite  at  his  ease  with  his  legs 
crossed  comfortably  on  the  architrave.  It  was  a  unique  piece 
of  insolence,  but  nobody  had  noticed  it  as  yet,  the  attention 
of  the  public  being  directed  elsewhere.  For  his  part,  he  took 
no  notice  of  what  was  going  on,  but  kept  wagging  his  head 
from  side  to  side  with  the  unconcern  of  a  Neapolitan  lazza- 
rone,  and  mechanically  repeating  his  droning  appeal,  "  Charity, 
I  pray  you !  "  Certain  it  was,  he  was  the  only  person  in  the 
whole  vast  audience  who  never  even  deigned  to  turn  his  head 
at  the  altercation  between  Coppenole  and  the  usher.  Now, 
it  so  chanced  that  the  master  hosier  of  Ghent,  with  whom  the 
people  were  already  so  much  in  sympathy  and  on  whom  all 
eyes  were  fixed,  came  and  seated  himself  in  the  first  row  on 
the  platform,  just  above  the  beggar.  What  was  the  amaze- 
ment of  the  company  to  see  the  Flemish  ambassador,  after 
examining  the  strange  figure  beneath  him,  lean  over  and  clap 

36 


Master  Jacques   Coppenole 

the  ragged  shoulder  amicably.  The  beggar  turned — surprise, 
recognition,  and  pleasure  beamed  from  the  two  faces — then, 
absolutely  regardless  of  their  surroundings,  the  hosier  and 
the  sham  leper  fell  to  conversing  in  low  tones  and  hand  clasped 
in  hand,  Clopin  Trouillefou's  ragged  arm  against  the  cloth  of 
gold  draperies  of  the  balustrade,  looking  like  a  caterpillar  on 
an  orange. 

The  novelty  of  this  extraordinary  scene  excited  such  a  stir 
of  merriment  in  the  Hall  that  the  Cardinal's  attention  was 
attracted.  He  bent  forward,  but  being  unable  from  where  he 
sat  to  do  more  than  catch  a  very  imperfect  glimpse  of  Trouille- 
fou's unsightly  coat,  he  naturally  imagined  that  it  was  merely 
a  beggar  asking  alms,  and,  incensed  at  his  presumption — 

"  Monsieur  the  Provost  of  the  Palais,  fling  me  this  rascal 
into  the  river !  "  he  cried. 

"  Croix-Dieu !  Monseigneur  the  Cardinal,"  said  Coppenole 
without  leaving  hold  of  Trouillefou's  hand,  "  it's  a  friend  ol 
mine." 

"  Noel !  Noel !  "  shouted  the  crowd  ;  and  from  that  moment 
Master  Coppenole  enjoyed  in  Paris  as  in  Ghent  "  great  favour 
with  the  people,  as  men  of  his  stamp  ahvays  do,"  says  Philippe   < 
de  Comines,  "  zvhen  they  are  thus  indiifcrent  to  authority."        ^ 

The  Cardinal  bit  his  lip,  then  he  leaned  over  to  his  neigh- 
hour,  the  Abbot  of  Sainte-Genevieve : 

"  Droll  ambassadors  these,  whom  Monsieur  the  Archduke 
sends  to  announce  Madame  Marguerite  to  us,"  he  said  in  a 
half  whisper. 

"  Your  Eminence  wastes  his  courtesy  on  these  Flemish 
hogs,"  returned  the  Abbot.     "  Margaritas  ante  porcos." 

"  Say  rather,"  retorted  the  Cardinal  with  a  smile,  "  Porcos 
ante  Margaritam." 

This  little  jeu  de  mots  sent  the  whole  cassocked  court  into 
ecstasies.  The  Cardinal's  spirits  rose  somewhat ;  he  was  quits 
now  with  Coppenole — he,  too,  had  had  a  pun  applauded. 

And  now,  with  such  of  our  readers  as  have  the  power  to 
generalize  an  image  and  an  idea,  as  it  is  the  fashion  to  say 
nowadays,  permit  us  to  ask  if  they  are  able  to  form  a  clear 
picture  of  the  scene  presented  by  the  vast  parallelogram  of 
the  great  Hall  at  the  moment  to  which  we  draw  their  atten- 
tion.    In  the  middle  of  the  western  wall  is  the  masrni'^-    ^^ 

37 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

and  spacious  platform  draped  with  cloth  of  gold,  entered  by 
a  small  Gothic  doorway,  through  which  files  a  procession  of 
grave  and  reverend  personages  whose  names  are  announced 
in  succession  by  the  strident  voice  of  the  usher.  The  first 
benches  are  already  occupied  by  a  crowd  of  venerable  figures 
muffled  in  robes  of  ermine,  velvet,  and  scarlet  cloth.  Around 
this  platform — on  which  reigns  decorous  silence — below,  op- 
posite, everywhere,  the  seething  multitude,  the  continuous 
hum  of  voices,  all  eyes  fixed  on  every  face  on  the  platform, 
a  thousand  muttered  repetitions  of  each  name.  In  truth,  a 
curious  spectacle  and  worthy  of  the  attention  of  the  spectators. 
But  stay,  what  is  that  kind  of  erection  at  the  opposite  end  of 
the  Hall,  having  four  party-coloured  puppets  on  it  and  four 
others  underneath ;  and  who  is  that  pale  figure  standing  beside 
it  clad  in  sombre  black?  Alas!  dear  reader,  it  is  none  other 
than  Pierre  Gringoire  and  his  Prologue,  both  of  which  we  had 
utterly  forgotten. 

And  that  is  exactly  what  he  had  feared. 

From  the  moment  when  the  Cardinal  entered,  Gringoire 
had  never  ceased  to  exert  himself  to  keep  his  Prologue  above 
water.  First  he  had  vehemently  urged  the  actors,  who  had 
faltered,  and  stopped  short,  to  proceed  and  raise  their  voices; 
then,  perceiving  that  nobody  was  listening  to  them,  he  stopped 
them  again,  and  during  the  quarter  of  an  hour  the  interruption 
had  lasted  had  never  ceased  tapping  his  foot  impatiently, 
fuming,  calling  upon  Gisquette  and  Lienarde,  urging  those 
near  him  to  insist  on  the  continuation  of  the  Prologue — in 
vain.  Not  one  of  them  would  transfer  his  attention  from  the 
Cardinal,  the  Embassy,  the  platform — the  one  centre  of  this 
vast  radius  of  vision.  It  must  also  be  admitted,  and  we  say 
it  with  regret,  that  by  the  time  his  Eminence  appeared  on 
the  scene  and  caused  so  marked  a  diversion,  the  audience  was 
beginning  to  find  the  Prologue  just  a  little  tedious.  After  all, 
whether  you  looked  at  the  platform  or  the  marble  table,  the 
play  was  the  same — the  conflict  between  Labour  and  Clergy, 
Aristocracy  and  Commerce.  And  most  of  them  preferred  to 
Avatch  these  personages  as  they  lived  and  breathed,  elbowing 
each  other  in  actual  flesh  and  blood  on  the  platform,  in  the 
Flemish  Embassy,  under  the  Cardinal's  robe  or  Coppenole's 
leathern  jerkin,  than  painted,  tricked  out,  speaking  in  stilted 

38  :: 


Master  Jacques   Coppenole 

verse,  mere  dummies  stuffed  into  yellow  and  white  tunics,  as 
Gringoire  represented  them. 

Nevertheless,  seeing  tranquility  somewhat  restored,  our 
poet  bethought  him  of  a  stratagem  which  might  have  been 
the  saving  of  the  whole  thing. 

"  Monsieur,"  said  he,  addressing  a  man  near  him,  a  stout, 
worthy  person  with  a  long-suffering  countenance,  ''  now,  how 
would  it  be  if  they  were  to  begin  it  again  ?  " 

"What?"  asked  the  man. 

"  Why,  the  Mystery,"  said  Gringoire. 

"  Just  as  you  please,"  returned  the  other. 

This  half  consent  was  enough  for  Gringoire,  and  taking 
the  business  into  his  own  hands,  he  began  calling  out,  mak- 
ing himself  as  much  one  of  the  crowd  as  possible :  "  Begin 
the  Mystery  again  !     Begin  again  !  " 

"  What  the  devil's  all  the  hubbub  about  down  there  ? " 
said  Joannes  de  Molendino  (for  Gringoire  was  making  noise 
enough  for  half  a  dozen).  "  What,  comrades,  is  the  Mystery 
not  finished  and  done  with  ?  They  are  going  to  begin  again ; 
that's  not  fair !  " 

"  No !  no !  "  shouted  the  scholars  in  chorus.  "  Down  with 
the  Mystery — down  with  it !  " 

But  Gringoire  only  multiplied  himself  and  shouted  the 
louder,  "  Begin  again  !  begin  again !  " 

These  conflicting  shouts  at  last  attracted  the  attention  of 
the  Cardinal. 

"  Monsieur  the  Provost  of  the  Palais,"  said  he  to  a  tall 
man  in  black  standing  a  few  paces  from  him,  "  have  these  folk 
gone  demented  that  they  are  making  such  an  infernal  noise  ?  " 

The  Provost  of  the  Palais  was  a  sort  of  amphibious  magis- 
trate ;  the  bat,  as  it  were,  of  the  judicial  order,  partaking  at 
once  of  the  nature  of  the  rat  and  the  bird,  the  judge  and 
the  soldier. 

He  approached  his  Eminence,  and  with  no  slight  fear  of 
his  displeasure,  explained  in  faltering  accents  the  unseemly 
behaviour  of  the  populace :  how,  the  hour  of  noon  having 
arrived  before  his  Eminence,  the  players  had  been  forced  into 
commencing  without  waiting  for  his  Eminence. 

The  Cardinal  burst  out  laughing. 

"  By  my   faith,   Monsieur  the   Rector  of  the   University 

D  39  Vol.  4 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

might  well  have  done  likewise.  What  say  you  Maitre  Guil- 
laume  Rym  ?  " 

"  Monseigneur,"  replied  Rym,  "  let  us  be  content  with 
having  missed  half  the  play.  That  is  so  much  gained  at 
any  rate." 

"  Have  the  fellows  permission  to  proceed  with  their  mum- 
meries?" inquired  the  Provost. 

"  Oh,  proceed,  proceed,"  returned  the  Cardinal ;  "  'tis  all 
one  to  me.     Meanwhile  I  can  be  reading  my  breviary." 

The  Provost  advanced  to  the  front  of  the  platform,  and 
after  obtaining  silence  by  a  motion  of  the  hand,  called  out : 

"Burghers,  country  and  townsfolk,  to  satisfy  those  who 
desire  the  play  should  begin  again  and  those  who  desire  it 
should  finish,  his  Eminence  orders  that  it  should  continue." 

Thus  both  parties  had  to  be  content.  Nevertheless,  both 
author  and  audience  long  bore  the  Cardinal  a  grudge  in 
consequence. 

The  persons  on  the  stage  accordingly  resumed  the  thread 
of  their  discourse,  and  Gringoire  hoped  that  at  least  the 
remainder  of  his  great  work  would  get  a  hearing.  But  this 
hope  was  doomed  to  speedy  destruction  like  his  other  illusions. 
Silence  had  indeed  been  established  to  a  certain  extent,  but 
Gringoire  had  not  observed  that  when  the  Cardinal  gave  the 
order  for  the  Mystery  to  proceed,  the  platform  was  far  from 
being  filled,  and  that  the  Flemish  ambassadors  were  followed 
by  other  persons  belonging  to  the  rest  of  the  cortege,  whose 
names  and  titles,  hurled  intermittently  by  the  usher  into  the 
midst  of  his  dialogue,  caused  considerable  havoc  therein. 
Imagine  the  effect  in  a  drama  of  to-day  of  the  doorkeeper 
bawling  between  the  lines,  or  even  between  the  first  two 
halves  of  an  alexandrine,  such  parentheses  as  these : 

"  Maitre  Jacques  Charmolue,  Procurator  of  the  King  in 
the  Ecclesiastical  Court !  " 

"  Jehan  de  Harlay,  Esquire,  Officer  of  the  Mounted  Night 
Watch  of  the  City  of  Paris !  " 

"  Messire  Galiot  de  Genoilhac,  Knight,  Lord  of  Brussac, 
Chief  of  the  King's  Artillery !  " 

"  Maitre  Dreux-Raguier,  Inspector  of  Waters  and  Forests 
of  our  Lord  the  King,  throughout  the  lands  of  France,  Cham- 
pagne, and  Brie !  " 

40 


Master  Jacques  Coppenole 

"  Messire  Louis  de  Graville,  Knight,  Councillor  and 
Chamberlain  to  the  King,  Admiral  of  France,  Ranger  of  the 
Forest  of  Vincennes !  " 

"  Maitre  Denis  le  Mercier,  Custodian  to  the  House  for 
the  Blind  in  Paris !  "  etc.,  etc.,  etc. 

It  was  insufferable. 

This  peculiar  accompaniment,  which  made  it  so  difficult  ■ 
to  follow  the  piece,  was  the  more  exasperating  to  Gringoire 
as  he  was  well  aware  that  the  interest  increased  rapidly  as 
the  work  advanced,  and  that  it  only  wanted  hearing  to  be  a 
complete  success.  It  would  indeed  be  difficult  to  imagine  a 
plot  more  ingeniously  and  dramatica'lly  constructed.  The  , 
four  characters  of  the  Prologue  were  still  engaged  in  bewailing 
their  hopeless  dilemma  when  Venus  herself,  vera  incessu  pattiit 
dca,  appeared  before  them,  wearing  a  splendid  robe  embla- 
zoned with  the  ship  of  the  city  of  Paris.*  She  had  come  to 
claim  for  herself  the  dolphin  promised  to  the  Most  Fair.  She 
had  the  support  of  Jupiter,  whose  thunder  was  heard  rumbling 
in  the  dressing-room,  and  the  goddess  was  about  to  bear  away 
her  prize — in  other  words,  to  espouse  Monsieur  the  Dauphin 
— when  a  little  girl,  clad  in  white  damask,  and  holding  a  daisy 
in  her  hand  (transparent  personification  of  Marguerite  of 
Flanders),  arrived  on  the  scene  to  contest  it  with  Venus. 
Coup  de  theatre  and  quick  change.  After  a  brisk  dispute, 
Marguerite,  Venus,  and  the  side  characters  agreed  to  refer 
Ihe  matter  to  the  good  judgment  of  the  Blessed  Virgin. 
There  was  another  fine  part,  that  of  Don  Pedro,  King  of 
Mesopotamia ;  but  it  was  difficult  amid  so  many  interruptions 
to  make  out  exactly  what  was  his  share  in  the  transaction. 
And  all  this  had  scrambled  up  the  ladder. 

But  the  play  was  done  for ;  not  one  of  these  many  beauties 
was  heard  or  understood.  Xt  seemed  as  if,  with  the  entrance 
of  the  Cardinal,  an  invisible  and  magic  thread  had  suddenly 
drawn  all  eyes  from  the  marble  table  to  the  platform,  from 
the  southern  to  the  western  side  of  the  Hall.  Nothing  could 
break  the  spell,  all  eyes  were  tenaciously  fixed  in  that  direc- 
tion, and  each  fresh  arrival,  his  detestable  name,  his  appear- 

*  The  arms  of  the  city  of  Paris  show  a  ship  on  heaving  billows  and 
the  motto  "  Fluctuat  nee  mergittir." 

41 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

ance,  his  dress,  made  a  new  diversion.  Excepting  Gisquette 
and  Lienarde,  who  turned  from  time  to  time  if  Gringoire 
plucked  them  by  the  sleeve,  and  tiie  big,  patient  man,  not  a 
soul  was  listening,  not  one  face  was  turned  towards  the  poor, 
deserted  Morality.  Gringoire  looked  upon  an  unbroken  vista 
of  profiles. 

With  what  bitterness  did  he  watch  his  fair  palace  of  fame 
and  poetry  crumble  away  bit  by  bit !  And  to  think  that  these 
same  people  had  been  on  the  point  of  rioting  from  impatience 
to  hear  his  piece]  And  now  that  they  had  got  it,  they  cared 
not  a  jot  for  it — the  very  same  performance  which  had  com- 
menced amid  such  unanimous  applause.  Eternal  flow  and 
ebb  of  popular  favour !  And  to  think  they  had  nearly  hanged 
the  sergeants  of  the  Provost !  What  would  he  not  have  given 
to  go  back  to  that  honey-sweet  moment ! 

However,  at  last  all  the  guests  had  arrived  and  the  usher's 
brutal  monologue  perforce  came  to  an  end.  Gringoire  heaved 
a  sigh  of  relief.  The  actors  spouted  away  bravely.  Then, 
what  must  Master  Coppenole  the  hosier  do  but  start  up  sud- 
denly, and  in  the  midst  of  undivided  attention  deliver  himself 
of  the  following  abominable  harangue : 

"  Messires  the  burghers  and  squires  of  Paris,  hang  me  if 
I  know  what  we're  all  doing  here.  To  be  sure,  I  do  perceive 
over  in  that  corner  on  a  sort  of  stage  some  people  who  look 
as  if  they  were  going  to  fight.  I  do  not  know  if  this  is 
what  you  call  a  Mystery,  but  I  am  quite  certain  it  is  not 
very  amusing.  They  wrestle  only  with  their  tongues.  For 
the  last  quarter  of  an  hour  I  have  been  waiting  to  see  the 
first  blow  struck,  but  nothing  happens.  They  are  poltroons, 
and  maul  one  another  only  with  foul  words.  You  should 
have  had  some  fighters  over  from  London  or  Rotterdam,  then 
there  would  have  been  some  pretty  fisticuffing  if  you  like — 
blows  that  could  have  been  heard  out  on  the  Place.  But 
these  are  sorry  folk.  They  should  at  least  give  us  a  Morris- 
dance  or  some  such  mummery.  This  is  not  what  I  had 
been  given  to  expect.  I  had  been  promised  a  Feast  of  Fools 
and  the  election  of  a  Pope.  We  too  have  our  pope  of  fools 
at  Ghent,  in  that  we  are  behind  nobody.  Croix-Dieu!  This 
is  how  we  manage  it.  We  get  a  crowd  together  as  here ; 
then  everybody  in  turn  thrusts  his  head  through  a  hole  and 

42 


Quasimodo 


pulls  a  face  at  the  others.  The  one  who  by  universal  con- 
sent makes  the  ugliest  face  is  chosen  Pope.  That's  our  way. 
It's  most  diverting.  Shall  we  choose  your  Pope  after  the 
same  fashion?  It  would  at  any  rate  be  less  tedious  than 
Ifstening  to  these  babblers.  If  they  like  to  take  their  turn 
at  grimacing  they're  welcome.  What  say  you,  my  masters? 
We  have  here  sufficiently  queer  samples  of  both  sexes  to 
give  us  a  good  Flemish  laugh,  and  enough  ugly  faces  to 
justify  our  hopes  of  a  beautiful  grimace." 

Gringoire  would  fain  have  replied,  but  stupefaction,  wrath, 
and  indignation  rendered  him  speechless.  Besides,  the  pro- 
posal of  the  popular  hosier  was  received  with  such  enthusiasm 
by  these  townsfolk,  so  flattered  by  being  addressed  as  squires, 
that  further  resistance  was  useless.  There  was  nothing  for  it 
but  to  go  with  the  stream.  Gringoire  buried  his  face  in  his 
hands,  not  being  fortunate  enough  to  possess  a  mantle 
wherewith  to  veil  his  countenance  like  the  Agamemnon  of 
Timanthes. 


U^ 


In  a  twinkling  burghers,  students,  and  Basochians  had 
set  to  work,  and  all  was  ready  to  carry  out  Coppenole's  sug- 
gestion. The  little  chapel  facing  the  marble  table  was  chosen 
as  the  mise  en  scene  of  the  grimaces.  A  pane  of  glass  was 
broken  out  of  the  charming  rose-window  above  the  door, 
leaving  an  empty  ring  of  stone,  through  which  the  competi- 
tors were  to  thrust  their  heads,  while  two  barrels,  procured 
from  goodness  knows  where,  and  balanced  precariously  on  the 
top  of  one  another,  enabled  them  to  mount  up  to  it.  It  was 
then  agreed  that,  in  order  that  the  impression  of  the  grimace 
might  reach  the  beholder  in  full  unbroken  purity,  each  candi- 
date, whether  male  or  female  (for  there  could  be  a  female 
pope),  was  to  cover  his  face  and  remain  concealed  in  the 
chapel  till  the  moment  of  his  appearance. 

In  an  instant  the  chapel  was  filled  with  competitors,  and 
the  doors  closed  upon  them. 

43 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

From  his  place  on  the  platform  Coppenole  ordered  every- 
thing, directed  everything,  arranged  everything.  During  the 
hubbub,  and  pretexting  vespers  and  other  affairs  of  impor- 
tance, the  Cardinal,  no  less  disconcerted  than  Gringoire,  re- 
tired with  his  whole  suite,  and  the  crowd,  which  had  evinced 
so  lively  an  interest  in  his  arrival,  was  wholly  unmoved  by 
his  departure.  Guillaume  Rym  alone  noticed  the  rout  of  his 
Eminence. 

Popular  attention,  like  the  sun,  pursued  its  even  course. 
Starting  at  one  end  of  the  Hall,  it  remained  stationary  for  a 
time  in  the  middle,  and  was  now  at  the  other  end.  The 
marble  table,  the  brocade-covered  platform,  had  had  their 
day ;  now  it  was  the  turn  of  the  Chapel  of  Louis  XI.  The 
field  was  clear  for  every  sort  of  folly ;  the  Flemings  and  the 
rabble  were  masters  of  the  situation. 

The  pulling  of  faces  began.  The  first  to  appear  in  the 
opening — eye-lids  turned  inside  out,  the  gaping  mouth  of  a 
ravening  beast,  the  brow  creased  and  wrinkled  like  the  hussar 
boots  of  the  Empire  period — was  greeted  with  such  a  roar 
of  inextinguishable  laughter  that  Homer  would  have  taken 
all  these  ragamuffins  for  gods. 

Nevertheless,  the  great  Hall  was  anything  rather  than 
Olympus,  as  Gringoire's  poor  Jupiter  knew  to  his  cost,  A 
second,  a  third  distortion  followed,  to  be  succeeded  by  another 
and  another;  and  with  each  one  the  laughter  redoubled,  and 
the  crowd  stamped  and  roared  its  delight.  There  was  in  the 
whole  scene  a  peculiar  frenzy,  a  certain  indescribable  sense 
of  intoxication  and  fascination  almost  impossible  to  convey 
to  the  reader  of  our  times  and  social  habits. 

Picture  to  yourself  a  series  of  faces  representing  suc- 
cessively every  geometrical  form,  from  the  triangle  to  the 
trapezium,  from  the  cone  to  the  polyhedron ;  every  human 
expression,  from  rage  to  lewdness ;  every  stage  of  life,  from 
the  creases  of  the  newly  born  to  the  wrinkles  of  hoary  age ; 
every  phantasm  of  mythology  and  religion,  from  Faunus  to 
Beelzebub ;  every  animal  head,  from  the  buffalo  to  the  eagle, 
from  the  shark  to  the  bulldog.  Conceive  all  the  grotesques 
of  the  Pont-Neuf,  those  nightmares  turned  to  stone  under 
the  hand  of  Germain  Pilon,  inspired  with  the  breath  of  life, 
and  rising  up  one  by  one  to  stare  you  in  the  face  with  gleam- 

44 


Quasimodo 


ing  eyes ;  all  the  masks  of  the  Carnival  of  Venice  passing  in 
procession  before  you — in  a  word,  a  human  kaleidoscope. 

The  orgy  became  more  and  more  Flemish.  Tenniers 
himself  could  have  given  but  a  feeble  idea  of  it ;  a  Salvator 
Rosa  battle-piece  treated  as  a  bacchic  feast  would  be  nearer 
the  mark.  There  were  no  longer  scholars,  ambassadors, 
burghers,  men  or  women ;  neither  Clopin  Trouillefou  nor 
Gilles  Lecornu  nor  Marie  Quatrelivres  nor  Robin  Pousse- 
pain.  The  individual  was  swallowed  up  in  the  universal 
license.  The  great  Hall  was  simply  one  vast  furnace  of 
effrontery  and  unbridled  mirth,  in  which  every  mouth  was  a 
yell,  every  countenance  a  grimace,  every  individual  a  posture. 
The  whole  mass  shrieked  and  bellowed.  Every  new  visage 
that  came  grinning  and  gnashing  to  the  window  was  fresh 
fuel  to  the  furnace.  And  from  this  seething  multitude,  like 
steam  from  a  caldron,  there  rose  a  hum — shrill,  piercing, 
sibilant,  as  from  a  vast  swarm  of  gnats. 

"Oh!  oh!  malediction!" 

"  Oh,  look  at  that  face !  " 

"  That's  no  good." 

"  Show  us  another." 

"  Guillemette  Maugrepuis,  look  at  that  ox-muzzle.  It 
only  wants  horns.     It  can't  be  thy  husband." 

"  The  next !  " 

"  Ventre  du  pape!  What  sort  of  a  face  do  you  call 
that?" 

"  Hola  there — that's  cheating  I  no  more  than  the  face  is 
to  be  shown  !  " 

"  Is  that  Perette  Callebotte  ? — devil  take  her — it's  just 
what  she  would  do  !  " 

"  Noel !     Noel !  " 

"  I  shall  choke !  " 

"  Here's  one  Avhose  ears  won't  come  through." 

And  so  on,  and  so  on. 

To  do  our  friend  Jehan  justice,  however,  he  was  still  visible 
in  the  midst  of  the  pandemonium,  high  up  on  his  pillar  like 
a  ship's  boy  in  the  mizzen,  gesticulating  like  a  maniac,  his 
mouth  wide  open  and  emitting  sounds  that  nobody  heard; 
not  because  they  were  drowned  by  the  all-pervading  clamour, 
terrific  as  it  was,  but  because  doubtless  they  had  reached  the 

45 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

limit  at  which  shrill  sounds  are  audible — the  twelve  thousand 
vibrations  of  Sauvcur,  or  the  eight  thousand  of  Biot. 

As  to  Gringoire,  the  first  moment  of  depression  over,  he 
had  regained  his  self-possession,  had  stiffened  his  back  against 
adversity. 

"  Go  on,"  said  he  for  the  third  time  to  his  players.  "  Go 
on,  you  speaking  machines,"  and  proceeded  to  pace  with 
long  strides  in  front  of  the  marble  table.  At  one  moment 
he  was  seized  with  the  desire  to  go  and  present  himself  at 
the  round  window,  if  only  for  the  gratification  of  pulling  a 
face  at  this  thankless  crowd.  "  But  no,"  he  said  to  himself, 
"  that  would  be  beneath  our  dignity — no  vengeance.  We  will 
fight  on  to  the  end.  The  power  of  poetry  over  the  people 
is  great.  I  shall  yet  regain  my  hold.  We  shall  see  which, 
will  win  the  day,  belles-lettres  or  grimaces." 

Alas !  he  was  the  sole  spectator  of  his  piece. 

No,  I  am  wrong.  The  big,  patient  man,  whom  he  had 
already  consulted  at  a  critical  moment,  still  faced  the  stage. 
As  to  Gisquette  and  Lienarde,  they  had  long  since  deserted  him. 

Touched  to  the  heart  by  the  stanchness  of  this  audience 
of  one,  Gringoire  went  up  to  him  and  accosted  him,  shaking 
him  gently  by  the  arm,  for  the  good  man  was  leaning  against 
the  balustrade  dozing  comfortably. 

"  Sir,"  said  Gringoire,  "  I  thank  you." 

"  Sir,"  returned  the  big  man  with  a  yawn,  "  for  what  ?  " 

"  I  see  the  cause  of  your  annoyance,"  resumed  the  poet. 
"  This  infernal  din  prevents  your  listening  in  comfort.  But 
never  fear,  your  name  shall  go  down  to  posterity.  Your 
name,  if  I  may  ask  ?  " 

"  Renault  Chateau,  Keeper  of  the  Seal  of  the  Chatelet  of 
Paris,  at  your  service." 

"  Sir,  you  are  the  sole  representative  of  the  Muses,"  said 
Gringoire. 

"  You  are  too  good,  sir,"  replied  the  Keeper  of  the  Seal 
of  Chatelet. 

"  The  one  person  who  has  paid  suitable  attention  to  the 
piece.     What  do  you  think  of  it?" 

"  H'm,  h'm,"  replied  the  big  official  drowsily.  "  Really 
quite  entertaining." 

Gringoire  had  to  be  content  with  this  faint  praise,  for  the 

46 


Quasimodo 


conversation  was  abruptly  cut  short  by  a  thunder  of  applause 
mingled  with  shouts  of  acclamation.  The.  Fools  had  elected 
their  Pope.  ^-^..^-^ 

'^"Noel !  Noel !  Noel !  "  roared  the  crowd  from  all  sides. 

In  truth,  the  grimace  that  beamed  through  the  broken 
rose-window  at  this  moment  was  nothing  short  of  miraculous- 
After  all  the  faces — pentagonal,  hexagonal,  and  heteroclite — 
which  had  succeeded  each  other  in  the  stone  frame,  without 
realizing  the  grotesque  ideal  set  up  by  the  inflamed  popular 
imagination,  nothing  inferior  to  the  supreme  efifort  now  daz- 
zling the  spectators  would  have  sufficed  to  carry  every  vote. 
Master  Coppenole  himself  applauded,  and  Clopin  Trouillefou, 
who  had  competed — and  Lord  knows  to  what  heights  his 
ugliness  could  attain — had  to  own  himself  defeated.  We  will 
do  likewise,  nor  attempt  to  convey  to  the  reader  a  conception 
of  that  tetrahedral  nose,  that  horse-shoe  mouth,  of  that  small 
left  eye  obscured  by  a  red  and  bristling  brow,  while  the  right 
disappeared  entirely  under  a  monstrous  wart,  of  those  uneven 
teeth,  with  breaches  here  and  there  like  the  crenated  walls  of 
a  fortress,  of  that  horny  lip  over  which  one  of  the  teeth  pro- 
jected like  an  elephant's  tusk,  of  that  cloven  chin,  nor,  above 
all,  of  the  expression  overlying  the  whole — an  indefinable  mix- 
ture of  malice,  bewilderment,  and  sadness.  Picture  such  an 
ensemble  to  yourself  if  you  can. 

There  was  not  a  single  dissentient  voice.  They  rushed 
to  the  Chapel  and  in  triumph  dragged  forth  the  thrice  lucky 
Pope  of  Fools.  Then  surprise  and  admiration  reached  the 
culminating  point — he  had  but  shown  his  natural  countenance. 

Rather,  let  us  say,  his  whole  person  was  a  grimace.  An 
enormous  head  covered  with  red  bristles ;  between  the  shoul- 
ders a  great  hump  balanced  by  one  in  front ;  a  system  of 
thighs  and  legs  so  curiously  misplaced  that  they  only  touched 
at  the  knees,  and,  viewed  from  the  front,  appeared  like  two 
sickles  joined  at  the  handles ;  huge  splay  feet,  monstrous 
hands,  and,  with  all  this  deformity,  a  nameless  impression  of 
formidable  strength,  agility,  and  courage — strange  exception 
to  the  eternal  rule,  which  decrees  that  strength,  like  beauty, 
shall  be  the  outcome  of  harmony.  ^ 

Such  was  he  whom  the  Fools  had  chosen  for  their  Pope. 
He  looked  like  a  giant  broken  and  badly  repaired. 

47 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

The  moment  this  species  of  Cyclops  appeared  in  the  door- 
way of  the  Chapel,  standing  motionless,  squat,  almost  as  broad 
as   he   was   long,   squared  by   the  base,   as   a   great   man   has 
described  it,  he  was  instantly  recognised  by  his  party-coloured 
coat,  half  red,  half  violet,  sprinkled  with  little  silver  bells,  and 
above  all,  by  the  perfection  of  his  ugliness. 
^^\('         " 'Tis   Quasimodo  the   bell-ringer!"   shouted   the   people 
^^^     with  one  voice  ;  "  Quasimodo  the  Hunchback  of  Notre-Dame ! 
''  ^  Ouasimodo   the    one-eved !      Ouasimodo   the   bandy-legged ! 
Noel !  Noel !  " 

The  poor  devil  had  evidently  a  large  stock  of  nicknames 
to  choose  from. 

"  Let  all  pregnant  women  beware !  "  cried  the  scholars. 

"  Or  those  that  wish  to  be !  "  added  Joannes. 

And  in  effect  the  women  hastily  covered  their  faces. 

"  Oh,  the  hideous  ape !  "  exclaimed  one. 

"  And  as  wicked  as  he  is  ugly,"  returned  another. 

"  'Tis  the  devil  himself,"  added  a  third. 

"  I  am  unlucky  enough  to  live  near  Notre-Dame.  I  hear 
him  scrambling  about  the  leads  all  night." 

"  With  the  cats." 

"  He's  forever  on  our  roofs." 

"  He  casts  spells  at  us  down  our  chimneys." 

"  The  other  night  he  came  and  made  faces  at  me  through 
my  sky-light  window.  I  thought  it  was  a  man.  What  a 
fright  I  got !  " 

"  I  am  certain  he  goes  to  the  witches'  Sabbath.  He  once 
left  a  broom  on  my  leads." 

"  Oh,  his  horrid  hunchback's  face !  " 

"  Oh,  the  wicked  creature  !  " 

"  Fie  upon  him  !  " 

On  the  other  hand,  the  men  were  enchanted  and  applauded 
vociferously. 

Meanwhile  Quasimodo,  the  object  of  all  this  uproar,  stood 
grave  and  unmoved  in  the  doorway  of  the  Chapel,  and  suf- 
fered himself  to  be  admired.  One  of  the  scholars,  Robin 
Poussepain  I  think  it  was,  came  up  and  laughed  in  his  face 
— somewhat  too  close.  Without  a  word  Quasimodo  seized 
him  by  the  belt  and  tossed  him  into  the  crowd  full  ten 
paces  off. 

48 


Quasimodo 


"  God's  cross !  Holy  Father !  "  exclaimed  Master  Cop- 
penole  in  amazement.  "  Yours  is  the  rarest  ugliness  I  have 
ever  beheld  in  all  my  born  days.  You  deserve  to  be  Pope 
of  Rome,  as  well  as  of  Paris."  And  so  saying,  he  clapped  a 
jovial  hand  on  the  hunchback's  shoulder. 

Quasimodo  did  not  stir.  "  Now  here's  a  fellow,"  con- 
tinued Coppenole,  "  I  have  a  mind  to  dine  with,  even  if  it 
cost  me  a  new  douzain  of  twelve  livres  tournois.  What 
say  you  ?  " 

Quasimodo  made  no  reply. 

"  Croix-Dieu !  "  cried  the  hosier,  "art  deaf?" 

As  a  matter  of  fact  he  was  deaf. 

However,  he  began  to  be  annoyed  by  Coppenole's  man- 
ner, and  suddenly  turned  upon  him  with  such  a  snarl  that 
the  Flemish  giant  recoiled  like  a  bulldog  before  a  cat. 

The  result  of  this  was  that  a  circle  of  terror  and  respect, 
with  a  radius  of  at  least  fifteen  geometric  paces,  was  formed 
around  the  alarming  personage. 

An  old  woman  explained  to  Master  Coppenole  that  Quasi- 
modo was  deaf. 

"Deaf?"  cried  the  hosier  with  his  great  Flemish  guffaw; 
"  Croix-Dieu  !  then  he's  every  inch  a  Pope !  " 

"  Why,  I  know  him !  "  exclaimed  Jehan,  who  by  this  time 
had  clambered  down  from  his  pillar  to  examine  the  hunchback 
more  closely.  "  It's  my  brother  the  Archdeacon's  bell-ringer. 
Good-day,  Quasimodo." 

"  The  man's  a  devil,"  growled  Robin  Poussepain,  still 
giddy  from  his  fall.  "  He  shows  himself,  and  you  discover 
he  is  a  hunchback ;  he  walks,  and  he  is  bow-legged ;  he  looks 
at  you,  and  he  has  only  one  eye ;  you  speak  to  him,  and 
he  is  deaf.  Why,  what  does  this  Polyphemus  do  with  his 
tongue  ?  " 

"  He  can  speak  when  he  likes,"  said  the  old  woman.  "  He 
is  deaf  from  the  bell-ringing;  he  is  not  dumb." 

"  That's  all  that's  wanting  to  make  him  perfect,"  remarked 
Jehan. 

"  And  he  has  an  eye  too  many." 

"Not  at  all,"  said  Jehan  judicially;  "a  one-eyed  man  is 
more  incomplete  than  a  blind  one,  for  he  is  conscious  of 
what  he  lacks." 

49 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Meanwhile  all  the  beggars,  all  the  lackeys,  all  the  cut- 
purses,  had  tacked  themselves  on  to  the  scholars,  and  gone 
in  procession  to  the  wardrobe  of  the  Basoche  to  fetch  the 
pasteboard  tiara  and  the  mock  robe  reserved  for  the  Fool's 
Pope,  with  which  Quasimodo  permitted  himself  to  be  invested 
ivitJIfout  turning  a  hair,  and  with  a  sort  of  proud  docility. 
They  then  seated  him  on  a  chair,  twelve  officers  of  the  Fra- 
ternity of  Fools  lifted  him  on  their  shoulders,  and  a  gleam 
of  bitter  and  disdainful  satisfaction  lit  up  the  morose  face  of 
the  Cyclops  as  he  saw  the  heads  of  all  these  fine,  strong, 
straight-limbed  men  beneath  his  misshapen  feet. 

Then  the  whole  bellowing,  tattered  crew  set  itself  in 
motion  to  make  the  customan-  round  of  the  interior  galleries 
of  the  Palais,  before  marching  through  the  streets  and  by-ways 
of  the  city. 


VI 

ESMERALDA 


We  are  charmed  to  be  able  to  inform  our  readers  that 
during  this  whole  scene  Gringoire  and  his  piece  held  their 
own.  Spurred  on  by  him,  the  actors  had  not  ceased  to 
declaim,  nor  he  to  listen.  He  had  contributed  his  share  to 
the  clamour  and  was  determined  to  stand  fast  to  the  end ; 
nor  did  he  despair  of  finally  regaining  the  attention  of  the 
public.  This  spark  of  hope  revived  when  he  beheld  Quasi- 
modo, Coppenole,  and  the  yelling  cortege  of  the  Pope  of 
Fools  troop  out  of  the  Hall  with  deafening  uproar,  the  crowd 
eagerly  at  their  heels. 

"  Good,"  said  he,  "  there  goes  the  disturbing  element." 

But  unfortunately  the  disturbing  elemicnt  comprised  the 
entire  public.     In  a  twinkling  the  Hall  was  empty. 

To  be  exact,  a  sprinkling  of  spectators  still  remained, 
scattered  about  singly  or  grouped  round  the  pillars — women, 
old  men,  and  children  who  had  had  enough  of  the  noise  and 
the  tumult.  A  few  scholars  sat  astride  the  windows  looking 
down  into  the  Place. 

50 


Esmeralda 

"  Well,"  thought  Gringoire,  "  here  we  have  at  least  enough 
to  listen  to  the  end  of  my  Mystery.  They  are  few,  but  select 
— a  lettered  audience." 

A  moment  afterward  it  was  discovered  that  a  band  of 
music,  which  should  have  been  immensely  effective  at  the 
entry  of  the  Blessed  Virgin,  was  missing.  Gringoire  found 
that  his  musicians  had  been  pressed  into  the  service  of  the 
Pope  of  Fools.     "  Go  on  without  it,"  he  said  stoically. 

Approaching  a  group  of  townsfolk  who  appeared  to  be 
discussing  his  play,  he  caught  the  following  scraps  of  con- 
versation : 

"  Maitre  Cheneteau,  you  know  the  Hotel  de  Navarre, 
which  used  to  belong  to  M.  de  Nemours?" 

"  Opposite  the  Chapelle  de  Braque — yes." 

"  Well,  the  fiscal  authorities  have  just  let  it  to  Guillaumc 
Alisandre,  the  historical  painter,  for  six  livres  eight  sols 
parisis  a  year." 

"  How  rents  are  rising !  " 

"  Come,"  thought  Gringoire  with  a  sigh,  "  at  least  the 
others  are  listening-." 

"  Comrades !  "  suddenly  cried  one  of  the  young  rascals  at 
the  window,  "  Esmeralda — Esmeralda  down  in  the  Place  1 " 

The  name  acted  like  a  charm.  Every  soul  in  the  Hall 
rushed  to  the  window,  clambering  up  the  walls  to  see,  and 
repeating  "  Esmeralda !  Esmeralda ! "  while  from  the  outside 
came  a  great  burst  of  applause. 

"  Now  what  do  they  mean  with  their  '  Esmeralda '  ? " 
Gringoire  inquired,  clasping  his  hands  in  despair.  "  Ah,  mon 
Dieu!  it  appears  that  the  windows  are  the  attraction  now." 

He  turned  towards  the  marble  table  and  discovered  that 
the  play  had  suffered  an  interruption.  It  was  the  moment  at 
which  Jupiter  was  to  appear  on  the  scene  with  his  thunder. 
But  Jupiter  was  standing  stock-still  below  the  stage. 

"  Michel  Giborne,  what  are  you  doing  there  ?  "  cried  the 
exasperated  poet.  "Is  that  playing  your  part?  Get  up  on 
the  stage  at  once." 

"  Alas !  "  said  Jupiter,  "  one  of  the  scholars  has  just  taken 
away  the  ladder." 

Gringoire  looked.  It  was  but  too  true;  the  connection 
between  the  knot  of  his  play  and  the  untying  had  been  cut. 

51 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

"  Rascal,"  he  muttered,  "  what  did  he  want  with  the 
ladder?" 

'*  To  help  him  to  see  Esmeralda,"  answered  Jupiter,  in  an 
injured  tone.  "  He  said,  '  Hallo,  here's  a  ladder  that  no- 
body's using,'  and  away  he  went  with  it." 

This  was  the  last  straw.  Gringoire  accepted  it  with  res- 
ignation. 

"  May  the  devil  fly  away  with  you !  "  said  he  to  the  actors, 
"  and  if  I  am  paid  you  shall  be."  Whereupon  he  beat  a 
retreat,  hanging  his  head,  but  the  last  in  the  field,  like  a 
general  who  has  made  a  good  fight. 

"  A  precious  set  of  boobies  and  asses,  these  Parisians ! " 
he  growled  between  his  teeth,  as  he  descended  the  tortuous 
stairs  of  the  Palais.  "  They  come  to  hear  a  Mystery,  and 
don't  listen  to  a  word.  They've  been  taken  up  with  all  the 
world — with  Clopin  Trouillefou,  with  the  Cardinal,  with  Cop- 
penole,  with  Quasimodo,  with  the  devil ;  but  with  Madame 
the  Virgin  Mary  not  a  bit.  Dolts !  if  I  had  only  known !  I'd 
have  given  you  some  Virgin  Marys  with  a  vengeance.  To 
think  that  I  should  have  come  here  to  see  faces  and  found 
nothing  but  backs!  I,  a  poet,  to  have  the  success  of  an 
apothecary !  True,  Homerus  had  to  beg  his  bread  through 
the  Greek  villages,  and  Ovidius  Naso  died  in  exile  among 
the  Muscovites.  But  the  devil  flay  me  if  I  know  what  they 
mean  with  their  Esmeralda.  To  begin  with,  where  can  the 
word  come  from? — ah,  it's  Egyptian." 


5« 


BOOK   II 


FROM   SCYLLA  TO    CHARYBDIS 

Night  falls  early  in  January.  It  was  already  dark  in  the 
streets  when  Gringoire  quitted  the  Palais,  which  quite  suited 
his  taste,  for  he  was  impatient  to  reach  some  obscure  and 
deserted  alley  where  he  might  meditate  in  peace,  and  where 
the  philosopher  might  apply  the  first  salve  to  the  wounds 
of  the  poet.  Philosophy  was  his  last  refuge,  seeing  that  he 
did  not  know  where  to  turn  for  a  night's  lodging.  After  the 
signal  miscarriage  of  his  first  effort,  he  had  not  the  courage 
to  return  to  his  lodging  in  the  Rue  Grenier-sur-l'Eau,  opposite 
the  hay-wharf,  having  counted  on  receiving  from  Monsieur 
the  Provost  for  his  epithalamium  the  wherewithal  to  pay 
Maitre  Guillaume  Doulx-Sire,  farmer  of  the  cattle  taxes  in 
Paris,  the  six  months'  rent  he  owed  him ;  that  is  to  say,  twelve 
sols  parisis,  or  twelve  times  the  value  of  all  he  possessed  in 
the  world,  including  his  breeches,  his  shirt,  and  his  beaver. 

Resting  for  a  moment  under  the  shelter  of  the  little  gate- 
way of  the  prison  belonging  to  the  treasurer  of  the  Sainte- 
Chapelle,  he  considered  what  lodging  he  should  choose  for 
the  night,  having  all  the  pavements  of  Paris  at  his  disposal. 
Suddenly  he  remembered  having  noticed  in  the  preceding 
week,  at  the  door  of  one  of  the  parliamentary  counsellors  in 
the  Rue  de  la  Savaterie,  a  stone  step,  used  for  mounting  on 
mule-back,  and  having  remarked  to  himself  that  that  stone 
might  serve  excellently  well  as  a  pillow  to  a  beggar  or  a 
poet.  He  thanked  Providence  for  having  sent  him  this  happy 
thought,  and  was  just  preparing  to  cross  the  Place  du  Palais 
and   enter  the   tortuous   labyrinth   of  the   city,   where   those 

53 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

ancient  sisters,  the  streets  of  la  Baillerie,  la  Vielle-Draperie, 
la  Savaterie,  la  Juiverie,  etc.,  pursue  their  mazy  windings,  and 
are  still  standing  to  this  day  with  their  nine-storied  houses, 
when  he  caught  sight  of  the  procession  of  the  Pope  of  Fools, 
as  it  issued  from  the  Palais  and  poured  across  his  path  with 
a  great  uproar,  accompanied  by  shouts  and  glare  of  torches 
and  Gringoire's  own  band  of  music. 

The  sight  touched  his  smarting  vanity,  and  he  fled.  In 
the  bitterness  of  his  dramatic  failure  everything  that  reminded 
him  of  the  unlucky  festival  exasperated  him  and  made  his 
wounds  bleed  afresh. 

He  would  have  crossed  the  Pont  Saint-Michel,  but  chil- 
dren were  running  up  and  down  with  squibs  and  rockets. 

"  A  murrain  on  the  lire-works !  "  exclaimed  Gringoire, 
turning  back  to  the  Pont-au-Change.  In  front  of  the  houses 
at  the  entrance  to  the  bridge  they  had  attached  three  banners 
of  cloth,  representing  the  King,  the  Dauphin,  and  Marguerite 
of  Flanders,  and  also  six  smaller  banners  or  draplets  on 
which  were  "  pourtraicts  "  of  the  Duke  of  Austria,  the  Cardinal 
de  Bourbon,  M.  de  Beaujeu,  Mme.  Jeanne  de  France,  and 
Monsieur  the  Bastard  of  Bourbon,  and  some  one  else,  the 
whole  lighted  up  by  flaming  cressets.  The  crowd  was  lost 
in  admiration. 

"  Lucky  painter,  Jehan  Fourbault,"'  said  Gringoire  with  a 
heavy  sigh,  and  turned  his  back  upon  the  banners  and  the 
bannerets.  A  street  opened  before  him  so  dark  and  deserted 
that  it  offered  him  every  prospect  of  escape  from  all  the  sounds 
and  the  illuminations  of  the  festival.  He  plunged  into  it. 
A  few  moments  afterward  his  foot  struck  against  an  obstacle, 
he  tripped  and  fell.  It  was  the  great  bunch  of  may  which 
the  clerks  of  the  Basoche  had  laid  that  morning  at  the  door 
of  one  of  the  presidents  of  the  parliament,  in  honour  of 
the  day. 

Gringoire  bore  this  fresh  mishap  with  heroism ;  he  picked 
himself  up  and  made  for  the  water-side.  Leaving  behind 
him  the  Tournelle  Civile  and  the  Tour  Criminelle,  and  skirt- 
ing the  high  walls  of  the  royal  gardens,  ankle-deep  in  mud, 
he  reached  the  western  end  of  the  city,  and  stopped  for  some 
time  in  contemplation  of  the  islet  of  the  Passcur-aux-raches 
or  ferry-man  of  the  cattle,  since  buried  under  the  bronze  horse 

54 


From   Scylla  to  Charybdis 

of  the  Pont-Neuf.  In  the  gloom  the  islet  looked  to  him  like 
a  black  blot  across  the  narrow,  gray-white  stream  that  sep- 
arated him  from  it.  One  could  just  make  out  by  a  faint 
glimmer  of  light  proceeding  from  it,  the  hive-shaped  hut  in 
which  the  ferry-man  sheltered  for  the  night. 

"  Happy  ferry-man,"  thought  Gringoire,  "  thou  aspirest  not 
to  fame ;  thou  composest  no  epithalamiums.  What  carest 
thou  for  royal  marriages  or  for  Duchesses  of  Burgundy? 
Thou  reckest  of  no  Marguerites  but  those  with  which  April 
pies  the  meadows  for  thy  cows  to  crop,  .  And  I,  a  poet,  am 
hooted  at,  and  I  am  shivering,  and  I  owe  twelve  sous,  and 
my  shoe-soles  are  worn  so  thin  they  would  do  to  glaze  thy 
lantern.  I  thank  thee,  ferry-man ;  thy  cabin  is  soothing  to 
my  sight,  and  makes  me  forget  Paris." 

Here  he  was  startled  out  of  his  well-nigh  lyric  ecstasy 
by  the  explosion  of  a  great  double  rocket  which  suddenly 
went  up  from  the  thrice  happy  cabin.  It  was  the  ferry-man 
adding  his  contribution  to  the  festivities  of  the  day  by  letting 
off  some  lire-works. 

At  this  Gringoire  fairly  bristled  with  rage. 

"  Accursed  festival !  "  cried  he ;  "  is  there  no  escape  from 
it  ? — not  even  on  the  cattle  ferry-man's  islet  ?  " 

He  gazed  on  the  Seine  at  his  feet,  and  a  horrible  tempta- 
tion assailed  him. 

"  Oh,  how  gladly  would  I  drown  myself,"  said  he,  "  if 
only  the  water  were  not  so  cold !  " 

It  was  then  he  formed  the  desperate  resolve  that,  as  there 
was  no  escape  from  the  Pope  of  Fools,  from  Jehan  Four- 
bault's  painted  banners,  from  the  bunches  of  may,  from  the 
squibs  and  rockets,  he  would  boldly  cast  himself  into  the  very 
heart  of  the  merry-making  and  go  to  the  Place  de  Greve. 

-'^There  at  least,"  he  reflected,  "  I  may  manage  to  get  a 
brand  from  the  bonfire  whereat  to  warm  myself,  and  to  sup 
off  some  remnant  of  the  three  great  armorial  devices  in  sugar 
which  have  been  set  out  on  the  public  buffets  of  the  city." 


55 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 
II 

THE   PLACE   DE   GREVE 

There  remains  but  one  slight  vestige  of  the  Place  de 
Greve  as  it  was  in  those  days ;  namely,  the  charming  little 
turret  at  the  northern  angle  of  the  square,  and  that,  buried 
as  it  is  already  under  the  unsightly  coating  of  whitewash 
which  obliterates  the  spirited  outlines  of  its  carvings,  will 
doubtless  soon  have  disappeared  altogether,  submerged  under 
that  flood  of  raw,  new^  buildings  which  is  rapidly  swallowing 
up  all  the  old  fagades  of  Paris. 

Those  who,  like  ourselves,  never  cross  the  Place  de  Greve 
without  a  glance  of  pity  and  sympathy  for  the  poor  little 
turret  squeezed  between  two  squalid  houses  of  the  time  of 
Louis  XV,  can  easily  conjure  up  in  fancy  the  ensemble  of 
edifices  of  which  it  formed  a  part,  and  so  regain  a  complete 
picture  of  the  old  Gothic  square  of  the  fifteenth  century. 

Then,  as  now,  it  was  an  irregular  square  bounded  on  one 
side  by  the  quay,  and  at  the  others  by  rows  of  tall,  narrow, 
and  gloomy  houses.  By  daylight,  there  was  much  to  admire 
in  the  diversity  of  these  edifices,  all  sculptured  in  wood  or 
stone,  and  offering,  even  then,  perfect  examples  of  the  various 
styles  of  architecture  in  the  Middle  Ages,  ranging  from  the  fif- 
teenth back  to  the  eleventh  century,  from  the  perpendicular, 
which  was  beginning  to  oust  the  Gothic,  to  the  Roman  which 
the  Gothic  had  supplanted,  and  which  still  occupied  beneath 
it  the  first  story  of  the  ancient  Tour  de  Roland,  at  the  corner 
of  the  square  adjoining  the  Seine  on  the  side  of  the  Rue  de 
la  Tannerie.  At  night,  nothing  was  distinguishable  of  this 
mass  of  buildings  but  the  black  and  jagged  outline  of  the 
roofs  encircling  the  Place  with  their  chain  of  sharp-pointed 
gables.  For  herein  consists  one  of  the  radical  diflferences 
between  the  cities  of  that  day  and  the  present,  that  whereas 
now  the  fronts  of  the  houses  look  on  the  squares  and  streets, 
then  it  was  their  backs.  During  the  last  two  centuries  the 
houses  have  completely  turned  about. 

In  the  centre  of  the  eastern  side  of  the  square  rose  a 
clumsy  and  hybrid  pile  formed  of  three  separate  buildings 

56 


The  Place  de  Gr^ve 

joined  together.  It  was  known  by  three  names,  which  ex- 
plain its  history,  its  purpose,  and  its  style  of  architecture : 
the  Maison  au  Dauphin,  because  Charles  V  had  inhabited  it  as 
Dauphin ;  the  Marchandise,  because  it  was  used  as  the  Town 
Hall ;  the  Maison-aiLr-Piliers  (domns  ad  pilorum),  because  of 
the  row  of  great  pillars  that  supported  its  three  storeys.  Here 
the  city  found  all  that  was  necessary  to  a  good  city  like  Paris : 
a  chapel  for  its  prayers,  a  plaidoyer  or  court-room  wherein  to 
hear  causes  and,  at  need,  to  give  a  sharp  set-down  to  the 
King's  men-at-arms,  and  in  the  garrets  an  arsenal  stocked 
with  ammunition.  For  the  good  citizens  of  Paris  knew  full 
well  that  it  is  not  sufificient  at  all  junctures  to  depend  either 
on  prayer  or  the  law  for  maintaining  the  franchises  of  the 
city,  and  have  always  some  good  old  rusty  blunderbuss  or 
other  in  reserve  in  the  attic  of  the  Hotel  de  Ville. 

La  Greve  already  had  that  sinister  aspect  which  it  still 
retains  owing  to  the  execrable  associations  it  calls  up,  and 
the  frowning  Hotel  de  Ville  of  Dominique  Bocador  which 
has  replaced  the  Maison-aux-Piliers.  It  must  be  admitted 
that  a  gibbet  and  a  pillory — a  justice  and  a  ladder,  as  they 
were  then  called — set  up  side  by  side  in  the  middle  of  the 
Place,  went  far  to  make  the  passer-by  turn  in  aversion  from 
this  fatal  spot,  where  so  many  human  beings  throbbing  with 
life  and  health  have  been  done  to  death,  and  which  fifty  years 
later  was  to  engender  the  Saint- Vallier  fever,  that  morbid 
terror  of  the  scaffold,  the  most  monstrous  of  all  maladies, 
because  it  comes  not  from  the  hand  of  God  but  of  man. 

It  is  a  consoling  thought,  let  it  be  said  in  passing,  to 
remember  that  the  death  penalty,  which  three  centuries  ago 
encumbered  with  its  spiked  wheels,  its  stone  gibbets,  all  its 
dread  apparatus  of  death  permanently  fixed  into  the  ground, 
the  Place  de  Greve,  the  Halles,  the  Place  Dauphine,  the  Cours 
du  Trahoir,  the  Marche-aux-Pourceaux  or  pig-market,  awful 
Montfaucon,  the  Barriere-des-Sergents,  the  Place-au-Chats, 
the  Porte  Saint-Denis,  Champeaux,  the  Porte  Baudets,  the 
Porte  Saint-Jacques,  not  to  mention  the  pillories  under  the 
jurisdiction  of  the  Bishop,  of  the  Chapters,  of  the  Abbots,  of 
the  Priors ;  nor  the  judicial  drownings  in  the  Seine — it  is  con- 
soling, we  repeat,  to  reflect  that  after  losing,  one  by  one,  all  the 
pieces  of  its  dread  panoply :  its  multiplicity  of  executions,  its 

57 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

fantastically  cruel  sentences,  its  rack  at  the  Grand  Chatelet — 
the  leather  stretcher  of  which  had  to  be  renewed  every  five 
years — that  ancient  suzerain  of  feudal  society  is  to-day  well- 
nigh  banished  from  our  laws  and  our  cities,  tracked  from  code 
fo  code,  hunted  from  place  to  place,  till  in  all  great  Paris  it 
has  but  one  dishonoured  corner  it  can  call  its  own— in  the 
Place  de  Greve ;  but  one  wretched  guillotine,  furtive,  craven, 
shameful,  that  always  seems  to  fear  being  caught  red-handed, 
so  quickly  does  it  vanish  after  dealing  its  fatal  blow. 


Ill 

BESOS    PARA    GOLPES  * 

By  the  time  Pierre  Gringoire  reached  the  Place  de  Greve 
he  was  chilled  to  the  bone.  He  had  made  his  way  across  the 
Pont-aux-Meuniers — the  Millers'  bridge — to  avoid  the  crowd 
on  the  Pont-au-Change  and  the  sight  of  Jehan  Fourbault's 
banners ;  but  the  wheel  of  the  episcopal  mills  had  splashed 
him  as  he  passed,  and  his  coat  was  wet  through.  In  addition, 
it  seemed  to  him  that  the  failure  of  his  play  made  him  feel 
the  cold  more  keenly.  He  hastened,  therefore,  to  get  near 
the  splendid  bonfire  burning  in  the  middle  of  the  Place,  but 
found  it  surrounded  by  a  considerable  crowd. 

"  Perdition  take  these  Parisians !  "  said  he  to  himself — for 
as  a  true  dramatic  poet,  Gringoire  was  greatly  addicted  to 
monologue — "  now  they  prevent  me  getting  near  the  fire — 
and  Heaven  knows  I  have  need  of  a  warm  corner!  My 
shoes  are  veritable  sponges,  and  those  cursed  mill-wheels  have 
been  raining  upon  me.  Devil  take  the  Bishop  of  Paris  and 
his  mills !  I'd  like  to  know  what  a  bishop  wants  with  a  mill. 
Does  he  expect  he  may  some  day  have  to  turn  miller  instead 
of  bishop?  If  he  is  only  waiting  for  my  curse  to  effect  this 
transformation,  he  is  welcome  to  it,  and  may  it  include  his 
cathedral  and  his  mills  as  well.     Now,   let  us   see  if  these 

*  A  kiss  brings  pain. 

S8 


Besos   Para  Golpes 


varlets  will  make  room  for  me.  What  are  they  doing  there, 
["d  like  to  know.  Warming  themselves — a  fine  pleasure 
indeed!  Watching  a  pile  of  fagots  burn — a  grand  spectacle, 
i'  faith !  " 

On  looking  closer,  however,  he  perceived  that  the  circle 
was  much  wider  than  necessary  for  merely  warming  one's  self 
at  the  King's  bonfire,  and  that  such  a  crowd  of  spectators 
was  not  attracted  solely  by  the  beauty  of  a  hundred  blazing 
fagots.  In  the  immense  space  left  free  between  the  crowd 
and  the  fire  a  girl  was  dancing,  but  whether  she  was  a  human 
being,  a  sprite,  or  an  angel,  was  what  Gringoire — sceptical 
philosopher,  ironical  poet  though  he  might  be — was  unable 
for  the  moment  to  determine,  so  dazzled  was  he  by  the 
fascinating  vision. 

She  was  not  tall,  but  her  slender  and  elastic  figure  made 
her  appear  so.  Her  skin  was  brown,  but  one  guessed  that 
by  day  it  would  have  the  warm  golden  tint  of  the  Andalusian 
and  Roman  women.  Her  small  foot  too,  so  perfectly  at  ease 
in  its  narrow,  graceful  shoe,  was  quite  Andalusian.  She  was 
dancing,  pirouetting,  whirling  on  an  old  Persian  carpet  spread 
carelessly  on  the  ground,  and  each  time  her  radiant  face 
passed  before  you,  you  caught  the  flash  of  her  great  dark 
eyes. 

The  crowd  stood  round  her  open-mouthed,  every  eye  fixed 
upon  her,  and  in  truth,  as  she  danced  thus  to  the  drumming 
of  a  tambourine  held  high  above  her  head  by  her  round  and 
delicate  arms,  slender,  fragile,  airy  as  a  wasp,  with  her  gold- 
laced  bodice  closely  moulded  to  her  form,  her  bare  shoulders, 
her  gaily  striped  skirt  swelling  out  round  her,  affording 
glimpses  of  her  exquisitely  shaped  limbs,  the  dusky  masses 
of  her  hair,  her  gleaming  eyes,  she  seemed  a  creature  of 
some  other  world. 

"  In  very  truth,"  thought  Gringoire,  "  it  is  a  salamander 
— a  nymph — 'tis  a  goddess — a  bacchante  of  Mount  Mse- 
nalus !  " 

At  this  moment  a  tress  of  the  "  salamander's  "  hair  be- 
came uncoiled,  and  a  piece  of  brass  attached  to  it  fell  to  the 
ground. 

"  Why,  no,"  said  he,  "  'tis  a  gipsy ! "  and  all  illusion 
vanished. 

59 


I 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

She  resumed  her  performance.  Taking  up  two  swords 
from  the  ground,  she  leaned  the  points  against  her  forehead, 
and  twisted  them  in  one  direction  while  she  herself  turned 
in  another. 

True,  she  was  simply  a  gipsy ;  but  however  disenchanted 
Gringoire  might  feel,  the  scene  was  not  without  its  charm, 
nor  a  certain  weird  magic  under  the  glaring  red  light  of  the 
bonfire,  which  flared  over  the  ring  of  faces  and  the  figure  of 
the  dancing  girl  and  cast  a  pale  glimmer  among  the  wavering 
shadows  at  the  far  end  of  the  Place,  flickering  over  the  black 
and  corrugated  front  of  the  old  Maison-aux-Piliers,  or  the 
stone  arms  of  the  gibbet  opposite. 

Among  the  many  faces  dyed  crimson  by  this  glow  was 
one  which,  more  than  all  the  others,  seemed  absorbed  in 
contemplation  of  the  dancer.  It  was  the  face  of  a  man, 
austere,  calm,  and  sombre.  His  costume  was  hidden  by  the 
crowd  pressing  round  him ;  but  though  he  did  not  appear 
to  be  more  than  thirty-five,  he  was  bald,  showing  only  a  few 
sparse  locks  at  the  temples  and  they  already  gray.  The  broad, 
high  forehead  was  furrowed,  but  in  the  deep-set  eyes  there 
glowed  an  extraordinary  youthfulness,  a  fervid  vitality,  a  con- 
suming passion.  Those  eyes  never  moved  from  the  gipsy, 
and  the  longer  the  girl  danced  and  bounded  in  all  the  unre- 
strained grace  of  her  sixteen  years,  delighting  the  populace,  J 
the  gloomier  did  his  thoughts  seem  to  become.  Ever  and  * 
anon  a  smile  and  a  sigh  would  meet  upon  his  lips,  but  the 
smile  was  the  more  grievous  of  the  two. 

At  last,  out  of  breath  with  her  exertion,  the  girl  stopped, 
and  the  people  applauded  with  all  their  heart. 

"  Djali !  "  cried  the  gipsy. 

At  this  there  appeared  a  pretty  little  white  goat,  lively, 
intelligent,  and  glossy,  with  gilded  horns  and  hoofs  and  a 
gilt  collar,  which  Gringoire  had  not  observed  before,  as  it 
had  been  lying  on  a  corner  of  the  carpet,  watching  its  mis- 
tress dance. 

"  Djali,."  said  the  dancing  girl,  "  it  is  your  turn  now,"  and 
seating  herself,  she  gracefully  held  out  her  tambourine  to 
the  goat. 

"  Now,  Djali,"  she  continued,  "  which  month  of  the  year 
is  it?" 

60 


Besos  Para  Golpes 


The  goat  lifted  its  fore-foot  and  tapped  once  on  the  tam- 
bourine. It  was  in  fact  the  first  month.  The  crowd  ap- 
plauded. 

"  Djali,"  resumed  the  girl,  reversing  the  tambourine, 
*'  what  day  of  the  month  is  it  ?  " 

Djali  lifted  her  little  golden  hoof  and  gave  six  strokes  on 
the  tambourine. 

"  Djali,"  continued  the  gipsy  girl,  again  changing  the 
position  of  the  tambourine,  "  what  hour  of  the  day  is  it  ?  " 

Djali  gave  seven  strokes.  At  the  same  instant  the  clock 
of  the  Maison-aux-Piliers  struck  seven. 

The  people  were  lost  in  admiration  and  astonishment. 

*'  There  is  witchcraft  in  this,"  said  a  sinister  voice  in  the 
crowd.  It  came  from  the  bald  man,  who  had  never  taken 
his  eyes  ofif  the  gipsy. 

The  girl  shuddered  and  turned  round,  but  the  applause 
burst  out  afresh  and  drowned  the  morose  exclamation — 
effaced  it,  indeed,  so  completely  from  her  mind  that  she  con- 
tinued to  interrogate  her  goat. 

"  Djali,  show  us  how  Maitre  Guichard  Grand-Remy,  cap- 
tain of  the  town  sharp-shooters,  walks  in  the  procession  at 
Candlemas." 

Djali  stood  up  on  her  hind  legs  and  began  to  bleat,  while 
she  strutted  along  with  such  a  delightful  air  of  gravity  that 
the  whole  circle  of  spectators,  irresistibly  carried  away  by  this 
parody  on  the  devotional  manner  of  the  captain  of  the  sharp- 
shooters, burst  into  a  roar  of  laughter. 

"  Djali,"  resumed  the  girl,  emboldened  by  her  increasing 
success,  "  show  us  Maitre  Jacques  Charmolue,  the  King's 
Procurator  in  the  Ecclesiastical  Court,  when  he  preaches." 

The  goat  sat  up  on  its  hind  quarters  and  proceeded  to 
bleat  and  wave  its  fore-feet  in  so  comical  a  fashion  that — 
excepting  the  bad  French  and  worse  Latin — it  was  Jacques 
Charmolue,  gesture,  accent,  attitude,  to  the  life. 

The  crowd  applauded  ecstatically. 

"  Sacrilege  !  profanation  !  "  exclaimed  the  voice  of  the  bald 
man  once  more. 

The  gipsy  girl  turned  round  again.  "  Ah,"  said  she,  "  it 
is  that  hateful  man !  "  then,  with  a  disdainful  pout  of  her 
under  lip,  which  seemed  a  familiar  little  grimace  with  her, 

6i 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

she  turned  lightly  on  her  heels  and  began  collecting  the  con- 
tributions of  the  bystanders  in  her  tambourine. 

Grands  blancs,  petits  blancs,  targes,  liards  a  I'aigle,  every 
description  of  small  coin,  were  now  showered  upon  her.  Sud- 
denly, just  as  she  was  passing  Gringoire,  he,  in  sheer  absence 
of  mind,  thrust  his  hand  into  his  pocket,  so  that  the  girl 
stopped  in  front  of  him. 

"  Diablc! "  exclaimed  the  poet,  finding  at  the  bottom  of 
his  pocket  reality — in  other  words,  nothing.  And  yet,  here 
w-as  this  pretty  girl,  her  great  eyes  fixed  on  him,  holding 
out  her  tambourine  expectantly.  Gringoire  broke  out  in  a 
cold  perspiration.  If  he  had  had  all  Peru  in  his  pocket,  he 
would  most  certainly  have  handed  it  to  the  dancing  girl,  but 
Gringoire  did  not  possess  Peru — and  in  any  case  America 
had  not  yet  been  discovered. 

Fortunately  an  unexpected  occurrence  came  to  his  relief. 

"  Get  thee  gone  from  here,  locust  of  Egypt !  "  cried  a 
harsh  voice  from  the  darkest  corner  of  the  Place. 

The  girl  turned  in  alarm.  This  was  not  the  voice  of  the 
bald  man ;  it  was  the  voice  of  a  woman,  one  full  of  fanaticism 
and  malice.  However,  the  exclamation  which  startled  the 
gipsy  girl  highly  delighted  a  noisy  band  of  children  prowling 
about  the  Place. 

"  'Tis  the  recluse  of  the  Tour-Roland !  "  they  cried  with 
discordant  shouts  of  laughter ;  "  'tis  the  sachctte  *  scolding 
again.  Has  she  not  had  any  supper?  Let's  take  her  some- 
thing from  the  public  buffet !  "  and  they  rushed  in  a  mass 
towards  the  Maison-aux-Piliers. 

Meanwhile  Gringoire  had  taken  advantage  of  the  dancing 
girl's  perturbation  to  eclipse  himself,  and  the  children's  mock- 
ing shouts  reminded  him  that  he  too  had  had  no  supper. 
He  hastened  to  the  buffet,  but  the  little  rascals  had  been  too 
quick  for  him,  and  by  the  time  he  arrived  they  had  swept 
the  board.  There  was  not  even  a  miserable  piece  of  honey- 
bread  at  five  sous  the  pound.  Nothing  was  left  against  the 
wall  but  the  slender  fleur  de  lis  and  roses  painted  there  in 
1434  by  Mathieu  Biterne — in  sooth,  a  poor  kind  of  supper. 

It  is  not  exactly  gay  to  have  to  go  to  bed  supperless, 
but  it  is  still  less  entertaining  neither  to  have  supped  nor 

*  Nun  of  the  Order  of  the  Sack,  or  of  the  Penitence  of  Christ. 

62 


Besos  Para  Golpes 


to  know  where  you  are  going  to  get  a  bed.  Yet  this  was 
Gringoire's  plight — without  a  prospect  of  food  or  lodging. 
He  found  himself  pressed  on  all  sides  by  necessity,  and  he 
considered  necessity  extremely  hard  on  him.  He  had  long 
ago  discovered  this  truth — that  Jupiter  created  man  during 
a  fit  of  misanthropy,  and  throughout  life  the  destiny  of  the 
wise  man  holds  his  philosophy  in  a  state  of  siege.  For  his 
own  part,  Gringoire  had  never  seen  the  blockade  so  complete. 
He  heard  his  stomach  sound  a  parley,  and  he  thought  it  too 
bad  that  his  evil  fate  should  be  enabled  to  take  his  philosophy 
by  famine. 

He  was  sinking  deeper  and  deeper  into  this  melancholy 
mood,  when  his  attention  was  suddenly  aroused  by  the  sound 
of  singing,  most  sweet  but  full  of  strange  and  fantastic  modula- 
tions.    It  was  the  gipsy  girl. 

Her  voice,  like  her  dancing  and  her  beauty,  had  some 
indefinable  and  charming  quality — something  pure  and  sono- 
rous ;  something,  so  to  speak,  soaring,  winged.  Her  singing 
was  a  ceaseless  flow  of  melody,  of  unexpected  cadences,  of 
simple  phrases  dotted  over  with  shrill  and  staccato  notes,  of 
liquid  runs  that  would  have  taxed  a  nightingale,  but  in  which 
the  harmony  was  never  lost,  of  soft  octave  undulations  that 
rose  and  fell  like  the  bosom  of  the  fair  singer.  And  all  the 
while  her  beautiful  face  expressed  with  singular  mobility  all 
the  var}ang  emotions  of  her  song,  from  the  wildest  inspiration 
to  the  most  virginal  dignity — one  moment  a  maniac,  the 
next  a  queen. 

The  words  she  sang  were  in  a  tongue  unknown  to  Grin- 
goire and  apparently  to  herself,  so  little  did  the  expression 
she  put  into  her  song  fit  the  sense  of  the  words.  Thus,  on 
her  lips  these  four  lines  were  full  of  sparkling  gaiety : 

"  Un  cofre  de  gran  riqueza 
Halloran  dentro  un  pilar ; 
Dentro  del,  nuevas  banderas 
Con  figuras  de  espantar."  * 

*  A  chest  richly  decorated 
They  found  in  a  well, 
And  in  it  new  banners 
With  figures  most  terrifying. 

E  63  Vol.  4 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

And  the  next  moment  Gringoire's  eyes  filled  with  tears 
at  the  expression  she  put  into  this  verse : 

"  Alarabes  de  cavallo 
Sin  poderse  menear, 
Con  espadas,  y  a  los  cuellos 
Ballestas  de  buen  echar."  * 

However,  the  prevailing  note  in  her  singing  was  joyous- 
ness,  and,  like  the  birds,  she  seemed  to  sing  from  pure  serenity 
and  lightness  of  heart. 

The  gipsy's  song  disturbed  Gringoire's  reverie,  but  only 
as  a  swan  rufHes  the  water.  He  listened  in  a  sort  of  trance, 
unconscious  of  all  around  him.  It  was  the  first  momen^for 
many  hours  that  he  forgot  his  woes. 

The  respite  was  short.  The  female  voice  which  had  inter- 
rupted the  gipsy's  dance  now  broke  in  upon  her  song: 

"  Silence,  grasshopper  of  hell !  "  she  cried  out  of  the  same 
dark  corner  of  the  Place. 

The  poor  "  cigale  "  stopped  short.  Gringoire  clapped  his 
hands  to  his  ears. 

"  Oh !  "  he  cried,  "  accursed,  broken-toothed  saw  that 
comes  to  break  the  lyre  !  " 

The  rest  of  the  audience  agreed  with  him.  "  The  foul 
fiend  take  the  old  sacheitel  "  growled  more  than  one  of  them, 
and  the  invisible  spoil-sport  might  have  had  reason  to  repent 
of  her  attacks  on  the  gipsy,  if  the  attention  of  the  crowd  had 
not  been  distracted  by  the  procession  of  the  Pope  of  Fools, 
now  pouring  into  the  Place  de  Greve,  after  making  the  tour 
of  the  streets  with  its  blaze  of  torches  and  its  deafening 
hubbub. 

This  procession  which  our  readers  saw  issuing  from  the 
Palais  de  Jnstice  had  organized  itself  en  route,  and  had  been 
recruited  by  all  the  ruffians,  all  the  idle  pickpockets  and 
unemployed  vagabonds  of  Paris,  so  that  by  this  time  it  had 
reached  most  respectable  proportions. 

First  came  Egypt,  the  Duke  of  the  Gipsies  at  the  head, 

*  Arab  horsemen  they  are, 
Looking  like  statues, 
With  swords,  and  over  their  shoulders 
Cross-bows  that  shoot  well. 

64 


Besos  Para  Golpes 


on  horseback,  with  his  counts  on  foot  holding  his  bridle  and 
stirrups  and  followed  by  the  whole  gipsy  tribe,  men  and 
women,  pell-mell,  their  children  screeching  on  their  shoulders, 
and  all  of  them,  duke,  counts,  and  rabble,  in  rags  and  tinsel. 
Then  came  the  Kingdom  of  Argot,  otherwise  all  the  vaga- 
bonds in  France,  marshalled  in  order  of  their  various  ranks, 
the  lowest  being  first.  Thus  they  marched,  four  abreast, 
bearing  the  divers  insignia  of  their  degrees  in  that  strange 
faculty,  most  of  them  maimed  in  one  way  or  another,  some 
halt,  some  minus  a  hand — the  courtauds  de  boutanche  (shop- 
lifters), the  coquillarts  (pilgrims),  the  hubins  (house-breakers), 
the  sabouleux  (sham  epileptics),  the  calots  (dotards),  the 
francs-mitoux  ("  schnorrers  "),  the  polissons  (street  rowdies), 
the  pietres  (sham  cripples),  the  capons  (card-sharpers),  the 
malingreux  (infirm),  the  marcandiers  (hawkers),  the  narquois 
(thimble-riggers),  the  orphelines  (pickpockets),  the  archisup- 
pots  (arch-thieves),  and  the  cagoux  (master-thieves) — a  list 
long  enough  to  have  wearied  Homer  himself.  It  was  not 
without  difficulty  that  in  the  middle  of  a  conclave  of  ca- 
goux and  archisuppots  one  discovered  the  King  of  Argot,  the 
Grand  Coesre,  huddled  up  in  a  little  cart  drawn  by  two  great 
dogs.  The  Kingdom  of  Argot  was  followed  by  the  Empire 
of  Galilee,  led  by  Guillaume  Rousseau,  Emperor  of  Gali- 
lee, walking  majestically  in  a  purple,  wine-stained  robe, 
preceded  by  mummers  performing  sham-fights  and  war- 
dances,  and  surrounded  by  his  mace-bearers,  his  satellites, 
and  his  clerks  of  the  exchequer.  Last  of  all  came  the  mem- 
bers of  the  Basoche  with  their  garlanded  may-poles,  their  black 
robes,  their  music  worthy  of  a  witches'  Sabbath,  and  their 
great  yellow  wax  candles.  In  the  centre  of  this  crowd  the 
great  officers  of  the  Confraternity  of  Fools  bore  on  their 
shoulders  a  sort  of  litter  more  loaded  with  candles  than  the 
shrine  of  Sainte-Genevieve  at  the  time  of  the  plague.  And  on 
it,  resplendent  in  cope,  crosier,  and  mitre,  sat  enthroned  the 
new  Pope  of  the  Fools,  Quasimodo,  the  hunchback,  the  bell- 
ringer  of  Notre-Dame. 

Each  section  of  this  grotesque  procession  had  its  special 
music.     The  gipsies  scraped  their  balafos  *  and  banged  their 

*  A  primitive  stringed  instrument  of  negro  origin. 

65 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

tambourines.  The  Argotiers — not  a  very  musical  race — had 
got  no  further  than  the  viol,  the  cow-horn,  and  the  Gothic 
rebec  of  the  twelfth  century.  The  Empire  of  Galilee  w-as 
not  much  better — scarcely  that  you  distinguished  in  its  music 
the  squeak  of  some  primitive  fiddle  dating  from  the  infan- 
cy of  the  art,  and  still  confined  to  the  rc-la-mi.  But  it 
was  round  the  Fools'  Pope  that  all  the  musical  treasures 
of  the  age  were  gathered  in  one  glorious  discordance- 
treble  rebecs,  tenor  rebecs,  not  to  mention  flutes  and  brass- 
es. Alas,  our  readers  will  remember  that  this  was  Gringoire's 
orchestra. 

It  would  be  diflEicult  to  convey  an  idea  of  the  degree  of 
beatitude  and  proud  satisfaction  which  had  gradually  spread 
over  the  sad  and  hideous  countenance  of  Quasimodo  during 
his  progress  from  the  Palais  to  the  Place  de  Greve.  It  was 
the  first  gleam  of  self-approbation  he  had  ever  experienced. 
Hitherto,  humiliation,  disdain,  disgust  alone  had  been  his 
portion.  Deaf  as  he  was,  he  relished  like  any  true  Pope  the 
acclamations  of  the  multitude,  whom  he  hated  because  he  felt 
they  hated  him.  What  matter  that  his  people  were  a  rabble 
of  Fools,  of  halt  and  maimed,  of  thieves,  of  beggars?  They 
were  a  people  and  he  was  a  sovereign.  And  he  accepted 
seriously  all  this  ironical  applause,  all  this  mock  reverence, 
with  which,  however,  we  are  bound  to  say,  there  was  mingled 
a  certain  amount  of  perfectly  genuine  fear.  For  the  hunch- 
back was  very  strong,  and  though  bow-legged,  was  active, 
and  though  deaf,  w^as  resentful — three  qualities  which  have  a 
way  of  tempering  ridicule. 

For  the  rest,  it  is  highly  improbable  that  the  new  Pope 
of  Fools  was  conscious  either  of  the  sentiments  he  experienced 
or  of  those  w'hich  he  inspired.  The  mind  lodged  in  that  mis- 
shapen body  must  inevitably  be  itself  defective  and  dim,  so 
that  whatever  he  felt  at  that  moment,  he  was  aware  of  it 
but  in  a  vague,  uncertain,  confused  way.  But  joy  pierced 
the  gloom  and  pride  predominated.  Around  that  sombre  and 
unhappy  countenance  there  was  a  halo  of  light. 

It  was  therefore  not  without  surprise  and  terror  that  sud- 
denly, just  as  Quasimodo  in  this  semi-ecstatic  state  was  pass- 
ing the  Maison-aux-Piliers  in  his  triumphant  progress,  they 
saw  a  man  dart  from  the  crowd,  and  with  a  gesture  of  hate, 

66 


Besos   Para  Golpes 


snatch  from  his  hand  the  crosier  of  gilt  wood,  the  emblem 
of  his  mock  papacy. 

This  bold  person  was  the  same  man  who,  a  moment  before, 
had  scared  the  poor  gipsy  girl  with  his  words  of  menace  and 
hatred.  He  wore  the  habit  of  an  ecclesiastic,  and  the  moment 
he  disengaged  himself  from  the  crowd,  Gringoire,  who  had 
not  observed  him  before,  recognised  him.  "  Tiens !  "  said  he 
with  a  cry  of  astonishment,  "  it  is  my  master  in  Hermetics, 
Dom  Claude  Frollo  the  Archdeacon.  What  the  devil  can 
he  want  with  that  one-eyed  brute?  He  will  assuredly  be 
devoured !  " 

Indeed,  a  cry  of  terror  rose  from  the  crowd,  for  the 
formidable  hunchback  had  leapt  from  his  seat,  and  the  women 
turned  their  heads  that  they  might  not  see  the  Archdeacon 
torn  limb  from  limb. 

He  made  one  bound  towards  the  priest,  looked  in  his  face, 
and  fell  on  his  knees  before  him. 

The  priest  then  snatched  ofif  his  tiara,  broke  his  crosier 
in  two,  and  rent  his  cope  of  tinsel,  Quasimodo  remaining  on 
his  knees  with  bent  head  and  clasped  hands. 

On  this  there  began  a  strange  dialogue  between  the  two 
of  signs  and  gestures,  for  neither  of  them  uttered  a  word : 
the  priest  standing  angry,  menacing,  masterful ;  Quasimodo 
prostrate  before  him,  humbled  and  suppliant;  and  yet  Quasi- 
modo could  certainly  have  crushed  the  priest  with  his  finger 
and  thumb. 

At  last,  with  a  rough  shake  of  the  dwarf's  powerful 
shoulder,  the  Archdeacon  made  him  a  sign  to  rise  and  fol- 
low him. 

Quasimodo  rose  to  his  feet. 

At  this  the  Fraternity  of  Fools,  the  first  stupor  of  surprise 
passed,  prepared  to  defend  their  Pope  thus  rudely  dethroned, 
while  the  Egyptians,  the  Argotiers,  and  the  Basoche  in  a  body 
closed  yelping  round  the  priest. 

But  Quasimodo,  placing  himself  in  front  of  the  Arch- 
deacon, brought  the  muscles  of  his  brawny  fists  into  play  and 
faced  the  assailants  with  the  snarl  of  an  angry  tiger. 

The  priest,  returned  to  his  gloomy  gravity,  signed  to 
Quasimodo  and  withdrew  in  silence,  the  hunchback  walking 
before  him  and  scattering  the  crowd  in  his  passage. 

67 


Nocre-Dame  de   Paris 

When  they  had  made  their  way  across  the  Place  the 
curious  and  idle  rabble  made  as  if  to  follow,  whereupon 
Quasimodo  took  up  his  position  in  the  rear  and  followed  the 
Archdeacon,  facing  the  crowd,  thick-set,  snarling,  hideous, 
shaggy,  ready  for  a  spring,  gnashing  his  tusks,  growling  like 
a  wild  beast,  and  causing  wild  oscillations  in  the  crowd  by 
a  mere  gesture  or  a  look. 

So  they  were  allowed  to  turn  unhindered  into  a  dark 
and  narrow  street,  where  no  one  ventured  to  follow  them,  so 
effectually  was  the  entrance  barred  by  the  mere  image  of 
Quasimodo  and  his  gnashing  fangs. 

"  A  most  amazing  incident !  "  said  Gringoire  ;  "  but  where 
the  devil  am  I  to  find  a  supper?" 


IV 


THE  MISHAPS   CONSEQUENT   ON   FOLLOWING   A   PRETTY   WOMAN 
THROUGH    THE    STREETS   AT    NIGHT 

At  a  venture,  Gringoire  set  ofif  to  follow  the  gipsy  girl. 
He  had  seen  her  and  her  goat  turn  into  the  Rue  de  la  Cou- 
tellerie,  so  he  too  turned  down  the  Rue  de  la  Coutellerie. 

"  Why  not  ?  "  said  he  to  himself. 

Now,  Gringoire,  being  a  practical  philosopher  of  the  streets 
of  Paris,  had  observed  that  nothing  is  more  conducive  to 
pleasant  reverie  than  to  follow  a  pretty  woman  without  know- 
ing where  she  is  going.  There  is  in  this  voluntary  abdication 
of  one's  free-will,  in  this  subordination  of  one's  whim  to  that* 
of  another  person  who  is  totally  unconscious  of  one's  pro- 
ceedings, a  mixture  of  fanciful  independence  and  blind  obedi- 
ence, an  indefinable  something  between  slavery  and  freedom 
which  appealed  to  Gringoire,  whose  mind  was  essentially 
mixed,  vacillating,  and  complex,  touching  in  turn  all  ex- 
tremes, hanging  continually  suspended  between  all  human 
propensities,  and  letting  one  neutralize  the  other.  He  was 
fond  of  comparing  himself  to  Mahomet's  coffin,  attracted 
equally  by  two  loadstones,  and  hesitating  eternally  between 

68 


Gringoire   Follows  the  Gipsy  Girl 

heaven  and  earth,  between  the  roof  and  the  pavement,  be- 
tween the  fall  and  the  ascension,  between  the  zenith  and 
the  nadir. 

Had  Gringfoire  lived  in  our  day,  how  admirably  he  would 
have  preserved  the  golden  mean  between  the  classical  and  the 
romantic.  But  he  was  not  primitive  enough  to  live  three 
hundred  years,  a  fact  much  to  be  deplored ;  his  absence  creates 
a  void  only  too  keenly  felt  in  these  days. 

For  the  rest,  nothing  disposes  one  more  readily  to  follow 
passengers  through  the  streets — especially  female  ones,  as 
Gringoire  had  a  weakness  for  doing — than  not  to  know  where 
to  find  a  bed. 

He  therefore  walked  all  pensively  after  the  girl,  who 
quickened  her  pace,  making  her  pretty  little  goat  trot  beside 
her,  as  she  saw  the  townsfolk  going  home,  and  the  taverns 
— the  only  shops  that  had  been  open  that  day — preparing 
to  close, 

"  After  all,"  he  thought,  "  she  must  lodge  somewhere — • 
gipsy  women  are  kind-hearted — who  knows  .  .  .  ?  " 

And  he  filled  in  the  asterisks  which  followed  this  discreet 
break  with  I  know  not  what  engaging  fancies. 

Meanwhile,  from  time  to  time,  as  he  passed  the  last  groups 
of  burghers  closing  their  doors,  he  caught  scraps  of  their 
conversation  which  broke  the  charmed  spell  of  his  happy 
imaginings. 

Now  it  was  two  old  men  accosting  each  other: 

"  Maitre  Thibaut  Fernicle,  do  yow  know  that  it  is  very 
cold  ?  "    (Gringoire  had  known  it  ever  since  the  winter  set  in.) 

"  You  are  right  there,  Maitre  Boniface  Disome.  Are  we 
going  to  have  another  winter  like  three  years  ago,  in  '80, 
when  wood  cost  eight  sols  a  load  ?  " 

"  Bah,  Maitre  Thibaut !  it  is  nothing  to  the  winter  of  1407 
— when  there  was  frost  from  Martinmas  to  Candlemas,  and 
so  sharp  that  at  every  third  word  the  ink  froze  in  the  pen 
of  the  registrar  of  the  parliament,  which  interrupted  the  re- 
cording of  the  judgments " 

Farther  on  were  two  gossips  at  their  windows  with  candles 
that  spluttered  in  the  foggy  air, 

"  Has  your  husband  told  you  of  the  accident,  Mile.  La 
Boudraque  ? " 

69 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"No;  what  is  it,  Mile.  Turqnant?" 

"  Why,  the  horse  of  M.  Gilles  Godin,  notary  at  the  Giate- 
let,  was  startled  by  the  Flemings  and  their  procession  and 
knocked  down  Maitre  Phillipot  Avrillot,  a  Celestine  lay- 
brother." 

"Is  that  so?" 

"  Yes,  truly." 

"  Just  an  ordinary  horse  too !  That's  rather  too  bad.  If 
it  had  been  a  cavalry  horse,  now !  " 

And  the  windows  were  shut  again ;  but  not  before  Grin- 
goire  had  lost  the  thread  of  his  ideas. 

Fortunately  he  soon  picked  it  up  again,  and  had  no  diffi- 
culty in  resuming  it,  thanks  to  the  gipsy  and  to  Djali,  who 
continued  to  walk  before  him — two  graceful,  delicate  crea- 
tures, whose  small  feet,  pretty  forms,  and  engaging  ways  he 
admired  exceedingly,  almost  confounding  them  in  his  con- 
templation :  regarding  them  for  their  intelligence  and  good 
fellowship  both  as  girls,  while  for  their  sure-footed,  light  and 
graceful  gait,  they  might  both  have  been  goats. 

Meanwhile  the  streets  were  momentarily  becoming  darker 
and  more  deserted.  Curfew  had  rung  long  ago,  and  it  was 
only  at  rare  intervals  that  one  encountered  a  foot-passenger 
in  the  street  or  a  light  in  a  window.  In  following  the  gipsy, 
Gringoire  had  become  involved  in  that  inextricable  maze  of 
alleys,  lanes,  and  culs-de-sac  which  surrounds  the  ancient 
burial-ground  of  the  Holy  Innocents,  and  which  resembles 
nothing  so  much  as  a  skein  of  cotton  ravelled  by  a  kitten. 

"  Very  illogical  streets,  i'  faith ! "  said  Gringoire,  quite  lost 
in  the  thousand  windings  which  seemed  forever  to  return 
upon  themselves,  but  through  which  the  girl  followed  a  path 
apparently  quite  familiar  to  her,  and  at  an  increasingly  rapid 
pace.  For  his  part,  he  would  have  been  perfectly  ignorant 
of  his  whereabouts,  had  he  not  caught  sight  at  a  turning  of 
the  octagonal  mass  of  the  pillory  of  the  Halles,  the  perforated 
top  of  which  was  outlined  sharply  against  a  solitary  lighted 
window  in  the  Rue  Verdelet. 

For  some  moments  the  girl  had  been  aware  of  his  pres- 
ence, turning  round  two  orjhree  times  uneasily;  once,  even, 
she  had  stopped  short,  and  taking  advantage  of  a  ray  of  light 
from  a  half-open  bakehouse  door,  had  scanned  him  steadily 

70 


Gringoire  Follows  the  Gipsy  Girl 

from  head  to  foot ;  then,  with  the  little  pouting  grimace  which 
Gringoire  had  already  noticed,  she  had  proceeded  on  her  way. 

That  little  m  >ue  gave  Gringoire  food  for  reflection.  There 
certainly  was  somewhat  of  disdain  and  mockery  in  that  cap- 
tivating grimace.  In  consequence  he  hung  his  head  and 
began  to  count  the  paving-stones,  and  to  follow  the  girl  at 
a  more  respectful  distance.  Suddenly,  at  a  street  corner  which 
for  the  moment  had  caused  him  to  lose  sight  of  her,  he  heard 
her  utter  a  piercing  shriek.  He  hastened  forward.  The 
street  was  very  dark,  but  a  twist  of  cotton  steeped  in  oil 
that  burned  behind  an  iron  grating  at  the  feet  of  an  image 
of  the  Virgin,  enabled  Gringoire  to  descry  the  gipsy  strug-^ 
gling  in  the  arms  of  two  men  who  were  endeavouring  to 
stifle  her  cries.  The  poor,  frightened  little  goat  lowered  its 
horns  and  bleated  piteously. 

"  Help !  help !  gentlemen  of  the  watch !  "  cried  Gringoire, 
advancing  bravely.  One  of  the  men  holding  the  girl 
turned  towards  him — it  was  the  formidable  countenance  of 
Quasimodo. 

Gringoire  did  not  take  to  his  heels,  but  neither  did  he 
advance  one  step. 

Quasimodo  came  at  him,  dealt  him  a  blow  that  hurled  him 
four  paces  ofif  on  the  pavement,  and  disappeared  rapidly  into 
the  darkness,  carrying  ofif  the  girl  hanging  limply  over  one 
of  his  arms  like  a  silken  scarf.  His  companioii  followed  him, 
and  the  poor  little  goat  ran  after  them  bleating  piteously. 

"  Murder !  murder !  "  screamed  the  hapless  gipsy. 

"  Hold,  villains,  and  drop  that  wench ! "  thundered  a  voice 
suddenly,  and  a  horseman  sprang  out  from  a  neighbouring 
cross-road. 

It  was  a  captain  of  the  Royal  Archers,  armed  cap-a-pie, 
and  sabre  in  hand. 

He  snatched  the  gipsy  from  the  grasp  of  the  stupefied 
Quasimodo  and  laid  her  across  his  saddle ;  and  as  the  redoubt- 
able hunchback,  recovered  from  his  surprise,  was  about  to 
throw  himself  upon  him  and  recover  his  prey,  fifteen  or 
sixteen  archers  who  had  followed  close  upon  their  captain 
appeared,  broadsword  in  hand.  It  was  a  detachment  going 
the  night  rounds  by  order  of  M.  d'Estouteville,  commandant 
of  the  Provostry  of  Paris. 

71 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Quasimodo  was  instantly  surrounded,  seized,  and  bound. 
He  roared,  he  foamed,  he  bit,  and  had  it  been  daylight,  no 
doubt  his  face  alone,  rendered  still  more  hideous  by  rage, 
would  have  put  the  whole  detachment  to  flight.  But  dark- 
less deprived  him  of  his  most  formidable  weapon — his 
ugliness. 

His  companion  had  vanished  during  the  struggle. 

The  gipsy  girl  sat  up  lightly  on  the  officer's  saddle,  put 
her  two  hands  on  the  young  man's  shoulders,  and  regarded 
him  fixedly  for  several  seconds,  obviously  charmed  by  his 
good  looks  and  grateful  for  the  service  he  had  just  ren- 
dered her. 

She  was  the  first  to  break  the  silence.  Infusing  a  still 
sweeter  tone  into  her  sweet  voice,  she  said :  "  Monsieur  the 
Gendarme,  how  are  you  called  ?  " 

"  Captain  Phoebus  de  Chateaupers,  at  your  service,  ma 
belle." 

"  Thank  you,"  she  replied ;  and  while  Monsieur  the  Cap- 
tain was  occupied  in  twirling  his  mustache  d  la  Burgui- 
gnonne,  she  slid  from  the  saddle  like  a  falling  arrow  and  was 
gone — no  lightning  could  have  vanished  more  rapidly. 

"  Nombril  du  Pape !  "  swore  the  captain  while  he  made 
them  tighten  Quasimodo's  bonds.  "  I  would  rather  have 
kept  the  girl." 

"  Well,  captain,"  returned  one  of  the  men,  "  though  the 
bird  has  flown,  we've  got  the  bat  safe." 


V 

SEQUEL   OF   THE   MISHAP 

Gringoire,  stunned  by  his  fall,  lay  prone  upon  the  pave- 
ment in  front  of  the  image  of  Our  Lady  at  the  corner  of 
the  street.  By  slow  degrees  his  senses  returned,  but  for 
some  moments  he  lay  in  a  kind  of  half-somnolent  state — not 
without  its  charms — in  which  the  airy  figures  of  the  gipsy 
and  her  goat  mingled  strangely  with  the  weight  of  Quasi- 

72 


Sequel  of  the  Mishap 

mode's  fist.  This  condition,  however,  was  of  short  duration. 
A  very  lively  sense  of  cold  in  that  portion  of  his  frame  which 
was  in  contact  with  the  ground  woke  him  rudely  from  his 
•dreams,  and  brought  his  mind  back  to  the  realities. 

"  Whence  comes  this  coolness  ?  "  he  hastily  said  to  him- 
self, and  then  he  discovered  that  he  was  lying  in  the  middle 
of  the  gutter. 

"  Devil  take  that  hunchback  Cyclops !  "  he  growled  as  he 
attempted  to  rise.  But  he  was  still  too  giddy  and  too  bruised 
from  his  fall.  There  was  nothing  for  it  but  to  lie  where 
he  was.  He  still  had  the  free  use  of  his  hands,  however,  so 
he  held  his  nose  and  resigned  himself  to  his  fate. 

"  The  mud  of  Paris,"  thought  he  drowsily — for  he  now 
felt  pretty  well  convinced  that  he  would  have  to  put  up  with 
the  kennel  as  a  bed — "  has  a  most  potent  stink.  It  must  con- 
tain a  large  amount  of  volatile  and  nitric  acids,  which  is  also 
the  opinion  of  Maitre  Nicolas  Flamel  and  of  the  alchemists." 

The  word  alchemist  suddenly  recalled  the  Archdeacon 
Claude  Frollo  to  his  mind.  He  remembered  the  scene  of 
violence  of  which  he  had  just  caught  a  glimpse — that  the 
gipsy  was  struggling  between  two  men,  that  Quasimodo  had 
had  a  companion,  and  then  the  morose  and  haughty  features 
of  the  Archdeacon  passed  vaguely  through  his  memory. 
"  That  would  be  strange,"  thought  he,  and  immediately  with 
this  datum  and  from  this  basis  began  raising  a  fantastic  edifice 
of  hypothesis,  that  house  of  cards  of  the  philosophers.  Then, 
returning  suddenly  to  the  practical,  "  Why,  I  am  freezing ! " 
he  cried. 

His  position  was  indeed  becoming  less  and  less  tenable. 
Each  molecule  of  water  in  the  gutter  carried  away  a  molecule 
of  heat  from  Gringoire's  loins,  and  the  equilibrium  between 
the  temperature  of  the  body  and  the  temperature  of  the  water 
was  being  established  in  a  rapid  and  painful  manner. 

Presently  he  was  assailed  by  an  annoyance  of  quite  another 
character. 

A  troop  of  children,  of  those  little  barefooted  savages 
who  in  all  times  have  run  about  the  streets  of  Paris  under 
the  immemorial  name  of  "  gamins,"  and  who,  when  we  too 
were  young,  would  throw  stones  at  us  when  we  came  out 
of  school  because  our  breeches  were  not  in  rags — a  swarm 

n 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

of  these  young  gutter-snipes  came  running  towards  the  spot 
where  Gringoire  lay,  laughing  and  shouting  in  a  manner  that 
showed  little  regard  for  the  slumbers  of  their  neighbours. 
After  them  they  dragged  some  shapeless  bundle,  and  the 
clatter  of  their  wooden  shoes  alone  was  enough  to  wake  the 
dead.  Gringoire,  who  had  not  quite  reached  that  pass,  raised 
himself  up  on  his  elbow. 

"  Ohe !  Hennequin  Dandeche !  Ohe !  Jehan  Pince- 
bourde !  "  they  bawled  at  the  pitch  of  their  voices,  "  old  Eu- 
stache  Moubon,  the  ironmonger  at  the  corner,  is  just  dead. 
We've  got  his  straw  mattress,  and  we're  going  to  make  a 
bonfire  of  it.     Come  on !  " 

And  with  that  they  flung  the  mattress  right  on  top  of 
Gringoire,  whom  they  had  come  up  to  without  perceiving, 
while  at  the  same  time  one  of  them  took  a  handful  of  straw 
and  lit  it  at  the  Blessed  Virgin's  lamp. 

'*  Mort-Christ !  "  gasped  Gringoire,  "  am  I  going  to  be 
too  hot  now  ?  " 

The  moment  was  critical.  He  was  on  the  point  of  being 
caught  between  fire  and  water.  He  made  a  superhuman  efifort 
— such  as  a  coiner  would  make  to  escape  being  boiled  alive 
— staggered  to  his  feet,  heaved  the  mattress  back  upon  the 
boys,  and  fled  precipitately. 

"  Holy  Virgin ! "  yelled  the  gamins,  "  it  is  the  iron- 
monger's ghost !  " 

And  they  too  ran  away. 

The  mattress  remained  master  of  the  field.  Belleforet, 
Father  Le  Juge,  and  Corrozet  assert  that  next  day  it  was 
picked  up  by  the  clergy  of  that  district  and  conveyed  with 
great  pomp  and  ceremony  to  the  treasury  of  the  Church  of 
Saint  Opportune,  where,  down  to  1789  the  sacristan  drew  a 
handsome  income  from  the  great  miracle  worked  by  the 
image  of  the  Virgin  at  the  corner  of  the  Rue  Mauconseil, 
the  which,  by  its  mere  presence,  had  on  the  memorable  night 
between  the  sixth  and  seventh  of  January,  1482,  exorcised 
the  defunct  Eustache  Moubon,  who,  to  balk  the  devil,  had, 
when  dying,  cunningly  hidden  his  soul  in  his  mattress. 


74 


The  Broken  Pitcher 

VI 

THE    BROKEN    PITCHER 

After  running  for  some  time  as  fast  as  his  legs  could 
carry  him  without  knowing  whither,  rushing  head  foremost 
into  many  a  street  corner,  leaping  gutters,  traversing  number- 
less alleys,  courts,  and  streets,  seeking  flight  and  passage 
among  the  endless  meanderings  of  the  old  street  round  the 
Halles,  exploring  in  his  blind  panic  what  the  elegant  Latin 
of  the  Charters  describes  as  "  tota  via,  cheminnni  et  viaria," 
our  poet  suddenly  drew  up  short,  first  because  he  was  out 
of  breath,  and  secondly  because  an  unexpected  idea  gripped 
his  mind. 

"  It  appears  to  me,  Maitre  Pierre  Gringoire,"  he  apostro- 
phized himself,  tapping  his  forehead,  "  that  you  must  be 
demented  to  run  thus.  Those  little  ragamuffins  were  just 
as  frightened  of  you  as  you  of  them.  If  I  mistake  not,  you 
heard  the  clatter  of  their  sabots  making  off  southward,  while 
you  were  fleeing  to  the  north.  Now  of  two  things  one : 
either  they  ran  away,  and  the  mattress,  forgotten  in  their 
flight,  is  precisely  the  hospitable  bed  you  have  been  searching 
for  since  the  morning,  and  which  Our  Lady  conveys  to  you 
miraculously  as  a  reward  for  having  composed  in  her  honour 
a  Morality  accompanied  by  triumphs  and  mummeries ;  or,  on 
the  other  hand,  the  boys  have  not  run  away,  and,  in  that 
case,  they  have  set  fire  to  the  mattress,  which  will  be  exactly 
the  fire  you  are  In  need  of  to  cheer,  warm,  and  dry  you.  In 
either  case — good  fire  or  good  bed — the  mattress  is  a  gift 
from  Heaven.  The  thrice-blessed  Virgin  Mary  at  the  corner 
of  the  Rue  Mauconseil  has  maybe  caused  Eustache  Moubon 
to  die  for  that  identical  purpose,  and  it  is  pure  folly  on 
your  part  to  rush  off  headlong,  like  a  Picard  running  from 
a  Frenchman,  leaving  behind  what  you  are  seeking  in  front 
— decidedly  you  are  an  idiot !  " 

Accordingly,  he  began  to  retrace  his  steps,  and  with  much 
seeking,  ferreting  about,  nose  on  the  scent,  and  ears  pricked, 
he  endeavoured  to  find  his  way  back  to  that  blessed  mattress 
— but  in  vain.     It  was  one  maze  of  intersecting  houses,  blind 

75 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

alleys,  and  winding  streets,  among  which  he  hesitated  and 
wavered  continually,  more  bewildered  and  entangled  in  this 
network  of  dark  alleys  than  he  would  have  been  in  the  real 
labyrinth  of  the  Hotel  des  Tournelles.  Finally  he  lost 
patience  and  swore  aloud :  "  A  malediction  upon  these  alleys ! 
The  devil  himself  must  have  made  them  after  the  pattern  of 
his  pitchfork !  " 

Somewhat  relieved  by  this  outburst,  next  moment  his 
nerve  was  completely  restored  by  catching  sight  of  a_red 
glow  at  the  end  of  a  long,  narrow  street. 

"  Heaven  be  praised !  "  said  he,  "  there  it  is — that  must  be 
the  blaze  of  my  mattress,"  and  likening  himself  to  a  pilot  in 
danger  of  foundering  in  the  night,  "  Salve,"  he  added  piously, 
"  Salre  maris  stclla!  "  but  whether  this  fragment  of  litany  v/as 
addressed  to  the  Virgin  or  to  the  mattress,  we  really  are 
unable  to  say. 

He  had  advanced  but  a  few  steps  down  the  narrow  street, 
which  was  on  an  incline,  unpaved,  and  more  and  more  miry 
as  it  neared  the  bottom,  when  he  became  aware  of  a  curious 
fact.  The  street  was  not  deserted.  Here  and  there  he  caught 
sight  of  vague  and  indeterminate  shapes,  all  crawling  in  the 
direction  of  the  light  that  flickered  at  the  end  of  the  street, 
like  those  lumbering  insects  which  creep  at  night  from  one 
blade  of  grass  to  another  towards  a  shepherd's  fire. 

Nothing  makes  one  more  boldly  venturesome  than  the  con- 
sciousness of  an  empty  pocket.  Gringoire,  therefore,  con- 
tinued his  way  and  soon  came  up  with  the  last  of  these  weird 
objects  dragging  itself  clumsily  after  the  rest.  On  closer 
inspection  he  perceived  that  it  was  nothing  but  a  miserable 
fragment,  a  stump  of  a  man  hobbling  along  painfully  on  his 
two  hands  like  a  mutilated  grasshopper  with  only  its  front 
legs  left.  As  he  passed  this  kind  of  human  spider  it  addressed 
him  in  a  lamentable  whine :  "  La  buona  mancia,  signer!  la 
hitona  mancia! "  * 

"  The  devil  fly  away  wath  thee !  "  said  Gringoire,  "  and  me 
too,  if  I  know  what  that  means."     And  he  passed  on. 

He  reached  another  of  those  ambulatory  bundles  and 
examined  it.     It  was  a  cripple  with  only  one  leg  and  one  arm, 

*  Charity,  kind  sir  ! 
76 


The  Broken   Pitcher 

but  so  legless  and  so  armless  that  the  complicated  system 
of  crutches  and  wooden  legs  on  which  he  was  supported  gave 
him  all  the  appearance  of  a  scaffolding  in  motion.  Gringoire, 
who  dearly  loved  noble  and  classical  similes,,  compared  him 
in  his  own  mind  to  the  living  tripod  of  Vulcan. 

The  living  tripod  greeted  him  as  he  passed  by,  lifting  his 
hat  to  the  height  of  Gringoire's  chin  and  holding  it  there 
like  a  barber's  basin  while  he  shouted  tn  his  ear :  "  Senor 
cabalkro,  para  comprar  tin  pedaso  de  pan!"  * 

"  It  appears,"  said  Gringoire,  "  that  this  one  talks  also ; 
but  it's  a  barbarous  lingo,  and  he  is  luckier  than  I  if  he 
understands  it."  Then  striking  his  forehead  with  a  sudden 
change  of  thought — "  That  reminds  me — what  the  devil  did 
they  mean  this  morning  with  their  Esmeralda  ?  " 

He  started  to  quicken  his  pace,  but  for  the  third  time 
something  barred  the  way.  This  something,  or  rather  some 
one,  was  blind,  a  little  blind  man  with  a  bearded,  Jewish  face, 
who,  lunging  in  the  space  round  him  with  a  stick,  and  towed 
along  by  a  great  dog,  snufBed  out  to  him  in  a  strong,  Hun- 
garian accent:  "  Facitote  caritatem!"  \ 

"  Thank  goodness !  "  exclaimed  Pierre  Gringoire,  "  at  last 
here's  one  who  can  speak  a  Christian  language,  I  must 
indeed  have  a  benevolent  air  for  them  to  ask  alms  of  me, 
considering  the  present  exhausted  condition  of  my  purse. 
My  friend,"  and  he  turned  to  the  blind  man,  "  last  week  I 
sold  my  last  shirt,  or  rather,  as  you  are  acquainted  only  with 
the  language  of  Cicero,  '  Vendidi  hebdomade  super  transita 
nieiim  ultimuman  chemisam' " 

So  saying,  he  turned  his  back  on  the  blind  man  and 
pursued  his  way.  But  the  blind  man  proceeded  to  quicken 
his  pace  at  the  same  time,  and  behold  the  cripple  and  the 
stump  also  came  hurrying  forward  with  great  clatter  and 
rattle  of  crutches  and  supports,  and  all  three  tumbling  over 
one  another  at  poor  Gringoire's  heels,  favoured  him  with 
their  several  songs.  "  Carifatem! "  whined  the  blind  man. 
"  La  bnona  mancia!"  piped  the  stump,  and  the  cripple  took  up 
the  strain  with  "  Un  pedaso  de  pan! " 

Gringoire  stopped  his  ears.     "  Oh,  tower  of  Babel !  "  he 

*  Kind  sir,  something  to  buy  a  piece  of  bread  !  f  Charity  ! 

77 


Notre-Dame   de   Paris 

cried,  and  set  off  running.  The  blind  man  ran,  the  cripple 
ran,  the  stump  ran. 

And  as  he  penetrated  farther  down  the  street,  the  maimed, 
the  halt,  and  the  blind  began  to  swarm  round  him,  while 
one-armed  or  one-eyed  men,  and  lepers  covered  with  sores, 
issued  from  the  houses,  some  from  little  streets  adjacent, 
some  from  the  bowels  of  the  earth,  howling,  bellowing,  yelp- 
ing, hobbling,  and  clattering  along,  all  pressing  forward 
towards  the  glow  and  wallowing  in  the  mud  like  slugs  after 
the  rain. 

Gringoire,  still  followed  by  his  three  persecutors,  and  not 
at  all  sure  of  what  would  come  of  all  this,  walked  on  be- 
wildered in  the  midst  of  this  swarm,  upsetting  the  halt,  strid- 
ing over  the  stumps,  his  feet  entangled  in  that  ant-hill  of 
cripples,  like  the  English  captain  who  was  beset  by  a  legion 
of  crabs. 

It  occurred  to  him  to  attempt  to  retrace  his  steps,  but  it 
was  too  late.  The  herd  had  closed  up  behind  him  and  his 
three  beggars  held  him  fast.  He  went  on,  therefore,  com- 
pelled at  once  by  that  irresistible  flood,  by  fear,  and  by  a 
sensation  of  giddiness  which  made  the  whole  thing  seem  like 
some  horrible  nightmare. 

At  last  he  reached  the  end  of  the  street.  It  opened  into 
an  immense  square  in  which  a  multitude  of  scattered  lights 
Avere  flickering  through  the  misty  gloom.  Gringoire  pre- 
cipitated himself  into  it,  hoping  by  the  speed  of  his  legs  to 
escape  the  three  maimed  spectres  who  had  fastened  them- 
selves on  to  him. 

"  Onde  ras  hombrc  f  "  "^^  cried  the  cripple,  tossing  aside  his 
complicated  supports  and  running  after  him  with  as  good  a 
pair  of  legs  as  ever  measured  a  geometrical  pace  upon  the 
pavements  of  Paris ;  while  the  stump,  standing  erect  upon 
his  feet,  bonneted  Gringoire  with  the  heavy  iron-rimmed 
platter  which  served  him  as  a  support,  and  the  blind  man 
stared  him  in  the  face  with  great  flaming  eyes. 

"  Where  am  I  ?  "  asked  the  terrified  poet. 

"  In  the  Court  of  Miracles,"  replied  a  fourth  spectre  who 
had  joined  them. 

*  Whither  away,  man  ? 
78 


The  Broken  Pitcher 

"  Truly,"  said  Gringoire,  "  I  see  that  here  the  blind  receive 
their  sight  and  the  lame  walk,  but  where  is  the  Saviour  ?  " 

Their  only  answer  was  a  sinister  laugh. 

The  poor  poet  looked  about  him.  He  was,  in  fact,  in  that 
Cour  des  Miracles  where  never  honest  man  penetrated  at  such 
an  hour— a  magic  circle  wherein  any  officer  of  the  Chatelet 
or  sergeant  of  the  Provostry  intrepid  enough  to  risk  entering 
vanished  in  morsels — a  city  of  thieves,  a  hideous  sore  on  the 
face  of  Paris ;  a  drain  whence  flowed  forth  each  morning, 
to  return  at  night,  that  stream  of  iniquity,  of  mendacity,  and 
vagabondage  which  flows  forever  through  the  streets  of  a 
capital ;  a  monstrous  hive  to  which  all  the  hornets  that  prey 
on  the  social  order  return  at  night,  laden  with  their  booty; 
a  fraudulent  hospital  where  the  Bohemian,  the  unfrocked 
monk,  the  ruined  scholar,  the  good-for-nothing  of  every  nation 
— Spaniards,  Italians,  Germans — and  of  every  creed — Jews, 
Turks,  and  infidels — beggars  covered  with  painted  sores  dur- 
ing the  day  were  transformed  at  night  into  robbers :  in  a  word, 
a  vast  green-room,  serving  at  that  period  for  all  the  actors 
in  that  eternal  drama  of  robbery,  prostitution,  and  murder 
enacted  on  the  streets  of  Paris. 

It  was  a  vast  open  space,  irregular  and  ill-paved,  as  were 
all  the  squares  of  Paris  at  that  time.  Fires,  around  which 
swarmed  strange  groups,  gleamed  here  and  there.  It  was 
one  ceaseless  movement  and  clamour,  shrieks  of  laughter, 
the  wailing  of  babies,  the  voices  of  women.  The  hands  and 
heads  of  this  crowd  threw  a  thousand  grotesque  outlines  on 
the  luminous  background.  The  light  of  the  fires  flickered 
over  the  ground  mingled  with  huge  indefinite  shadows,  and 
across  it  from  time  to  time  passed  some  animal-like  man  or 
man-like  animal.  The  boundary  lines  between  race  and  spe- 
cies seemed  here  effaced  as  in  a  pandemonium.  Men,  women, 
beasts,  age,  sex,  health  and  sickness,  all  seemed  to  be  in 
common  with  this  people ;  all  was  shared,  mingled,  con- 
founded, superimposed,  each  one  participated  in  all. 

The  faint  and  unsteady  gleam  of  the  fires  enabled  Grin- 
goire through  all  his  perturbation  to  distinguish  that  the  great 
square  was  enclosed  in  a  hideous  framework  of  ancient  houses, 
which,  with  their  mouldering,  shrunken,  stooping  fronts,  each 
pierced  by  one  or  two  round  lighted  windows,  looked  to  him 

79 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

in  the  dark  like  so  many  old  women's  heads,  monstrous  and 
cross-grained,  ranged  in  a  circle,  and  blinking  down  upon 
these  witches'  revels. 

It  was  like  another  and  an  unknown  world,  undreamt  of, 
shapeless,  crawling,  swarming,  fantastic. 

Gringoire,  growing  momentarily  more  affrighted,  held  by 
the  three  beggars  as  by  so  many  vices,  bewildered  by  a  crowd 
of  other  faces  that  bleated  and  barked  round  him — the  luckless 
Gringoire  strove  to  collect  his  mind  sufficiently  to  remember 
whether  this  was  really  Saturday — the  watches'  Sabbath.  But 
all  his  efforts  were  useless — the  link  between  his  memory 
and  his  brain  was  broken;  and  doubtful  of  everything,  vacil- 
lating between  what  he  saw  and  what  he  felt,  he  asked  him- 
self this  insoluble  question:  "If  I  am  I,  then  what  is  this? 
If  this  is  real,  then  what  am  I  ?  " 

At  this  moment  an  intelligible  cry  detached  itself  from 
the  buzzing  of  the  crowd  surrounding  him :  "  Take  him  to  the 
King !     Take  him  to  the  King !  " 

"  Holy  Virgin !  "  muttered  Gringoire,  "  the  King  of  this 
place?     He  must  be  a  goat!" 

"To  the  King!     To  the  King!"  they  shouted  in  chorus. 

They  dragged  him  away,  each  striving  to  fasten  his  claws 
on  him ;  but  the  three  beggars  would  not  loose  their  hold, 
and  tore  him  from  the  others,  yelling :  "  He  belongs  to  us !  " 

The  poet's  doublet,  already  sadly  ailing,  gave  up  the  ghost 
in  this  struggle. 

In  traversing  the  horrible  place  his  giddiness  passed  ofif, 
and  after  proceeding  a  few  paces  he  had  entirely  recovered 
his  sense  of  reality.  He  began  to  adapt  himself  to  the  atmos- 
phere of  the  place.  In  the  first  moments  there  had  arisen 
from  his  poet's  head,  or  perhaps  quite  simply  and  prosaically 
from  his  empty  stomach,  a  fume,  a  vapour,  so  to  speak,  which, 
spreading  itself  between  him  and  the  surrounding  objects, 
had  permitted  him  to  view  them  only  through  the  incoherent 
mist  of  a  nightmare,  that  distorting  twilight  of  our  dreams 
which  exaggerates  and  misplaces  every  outline,  crowding 
objects  together  in  disproportionate  groups,  transforming 
ordinary  things  into  chimeras  and  men  into  monstrous  phan- 
toms. By  degrees,  this  hallucination  gave  place  to  a  less 
bewildered,  less  exaggerated  state  of  mind.     The  real  forced 

80 


The  Broken   Pitcher 

itself  upon  him — struck  upon  his  eyes — struck  against  his  feet 
— and  demolished,  piece  by  piece,  the  terrifying  vision  by 
which  at  first  he  had  imagined  himself  surrounded.  He  now 
perforce  was  aware  that  he  was  walking  not  through  the  Styx, 
but  through  the  mud ;  that  he  was  being  hustled  not  by 
demons,  but  by  thieves ;  that  not  his  soul,  but  in  simple  sooth 
his  life,  was  in  danger  (since  he  was  without  that  invaluable 
conciliator  w^hich  interposes  so  efficaciously  between  the  rob- 
ber and  the  honest  man — the  purse) ;  in  short,  on  examining 
the  orgy  more  closely  and  in  colder  blood,  he  was  obliged 
to  climb  down  from  the  watches'  Sabbath  to  the  pot-house. 

And,  in  truth,  the  Court  of  Miracles  was  nothing  more 
nor  less  than  a  huge  tavern ;  but  a  tavern  for  brigands,  as 
red  with  blood  as  ever  it  was  with  wine. 

The  spectacle  which  presented  itself  to  him  when  his 
ragged  escort  at  last  brought  him  to  the  goal  of  his  march, 
was  not  calculated  to  incline  his  mind  to  poetry,  even  though 
it  were  the  poetry  of  hell.  It  was  more  than  ever  the  pro- 
saic and  brutal  reality  of  the  pot-house.  Were  we  not  writing 
of  the  fifteenth  century,  we  would  say  that  Gringoire  had 
come  down  from  Michael  Angelo  to  Callot. 

Round  a  great  fire  which  burned  on  a  large  round  flag- 
stone, and  glowed  on  the  red-hot  legs  of  a  trivet,  unoccupied 
for  the  moment,  some  worm-eaten  tables  were  ranged  hap- 
hazard, without  the  srnallest  regard  to  symmetry  or  order. 
On  these  tables  stood  a  few  overflowing  tankards  of  wine 
or  beer,  and  grouped  round  them  many  bacchanalian  faces 
reddened  both  by  the  fire  and  wine.  Here  was  a  man,  round 
of  belly  and  jovial  of  face,  noisily  embracing  a  thick-set, 
brawny  trollop  of  the  streets.  Here  a  sham  soldier,  whist- 
ling cheerfully  while  he  unwound  the  bandages  of  his  false 
wound,  and  unstififened  his  sound  and  vigorous  knee,  strapped 
up  since  the  morning  in  yards  of  ligature.  Anon  it  was  a 
malingreux — a  malingerer — preparing  with  celandine  and  ox- 
blood  his  "  jambe  de  Dieii  "  or  sore  leg  for  the  morrow.  Two 
tables  farther  on  a  coquiUart  with  his  complete  pilgrim's  suit, 
cockle-shell  on  hat,  was  spelling  out  and  practising  the  Plainti 
of  Sainte-Reine  in  its  proper  sing-song  tone  and  nasal  whine. 
Elsewhere  a  young  hubin  was  taking  a  lesson  in  epilepsy  from 
an  old  sabouleux,  who  was  teaching  him  how  to  foam  at  the 

8i 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

mouth  by  chewing  a  piece  of  soap.  Close  by,  a  dropsical 
man  was  removing  his  swelling,  while  four  or  five  hags  at 
the  same  table  were  quarrelling  over  a  child  they  had  stolen 
that  evening.  All  of  which  circumstances  two  centuries  later 
"  appeared  so  diverting  to  the  Court,"  says  Sauval,  "  that  they 
furnished  pastime  to  the  King,  and  the  opening  scene  of  the 
royal  ballet,  entitled  '  Night,'  which  was  divided  into  four 
parts  and  was  danced  on  the  stage  of  the  Petit-Bourbon." 
"  And  never,"  adds  an  eye-witness  in  1653,  "  were  the  sudden 
metamorphoses  of  the  Cour  des  Miracles  more  happily  repre- 
sented, Benserade  prepared  us  for  it  with  some  very  pleasing 
verses." 

Loud  guffaws  of  laughter  resounded  everywhere,  and 
obscene  songs.  Each  one  said  his  say,  passed  his  criticisms, 
and  swore  freely  without  listening  to  his  neighbours'.  Wine 
cups  clinked  and  quarrels  arose  as  the  cups  met,  the  smash 
of  broken  crockery  leading  further  to  the  tearing  of  rags. 

A  great  dog  sat  on  his  tail  and  stared  into  the  fire.  A 
few  children  mingled  in  this  orgy.  The  stolen  child  wept 
and  wailed ;  another,  a  bouncing  boy  of  four,  was  seated  with 
dangling  legs  on  too  high  a  bench,  the  table  reaching  just 
to  his  chin,  and  said  not  a  word ;  a  third  was  engaged  in 
spreading  over  the  table  with  his  fingers  the  tallow  from  a 
guttering  candle.  Lastly,  a  very  little  one  was  squatting  in 
the  mud,  and  almost  lost  in  a  great  iron  pot,  which  he  scraped 
out  with  a  tile,  drawing  sounds  from  it  which  would  have 
made  Stradivarius  swoon. 

There  was  a  barrel  near  the  fire,  and  seated  on  the  barrel 
a  beggar.     It  was  the  King  upon  his  throne. 

The  three  who  had  hold  of  Gringoire  led  him  up  to  the 
barrel,  and  the  pandemonium  was  silent  for  a  moment,  save 
for  the  caldron  tenanted  by  the  child. 

Gringoire  dared  not  breathe  or  lift  his  eyes. 

"  Homhre,  quita  tu  sombrero"  *  said  one  of  the  three  rogues 
in  possession  of  him ;  and  before  he  could  understand  what 
this  meant,  another  had  snatched  ofif  his  hat — a  poor  thing, 
it  is  true,  but  available  still  on  a  day  of  sunshine  or  of  rain. 

Gringoire  heaved  a  sigh. 


*  Fellow,  take  off  thy  hat. 
82 


The  Broken  Pitcher 

Meanwhile  the  King,  from  his  elevated  seat,  demanded: 
"  What  sort  of  a  rascal  is  this  ?  " 

Gringoire  started.  This  voice,  though  speaking  in  menac- 
ing tones,  reminded  him  of  the  one  which  that  very  morning 
had  struck  the  first  blow  at  his  Mystery,  as  it  whined  in  the 
middle  of  the  audience,  "  Charity,  I  pray !  "  He  looked  up 
— it  was  indeed  Clopin  Trouillefou. 

Clopin  Trouillefou,  invested  with  the  regal  insignia,  had 
not  one  rag  the  more  or  the  less  upon  him.  The  sore  on  his 
arm  had  disappeared  certainly,  while  in  his  hand  he  held  one 
of  those  leather-thonged  whips  called  boullayes,  and  used  in 
those  days  by  the  sergeants  of  the  guard  to  keep  back  the 
crowd.  On  his  head  he  had  a  sort  of  bonnet  twisted  into  a 
circle  and  closed  at  the  top ;  but  whether  it  was  a  child's 
cap  or  a  king's  crown  it  would  be  hard  to  say,  so  much 
did  the  two  resemble  one  another. 

However,  Gringoire,  without  any  apparent  reason,  felt 
his  hopes  revive  a  little  on  recognising  in  the  King  of  the 
Court  of  Miracles  his  accursed  beggar  of  the  great  Hall. 

"  Maitre,"  he  stammered,  ''  Monseigneur — Sire —  How 
must  I  call  you?"  he  said  at  last,  havinf;  reached  the  highest 
point  of  his  scale,  and  not  knowing  how  to  mount  higher 
nor  how  to  descend. 

"  Monseigneur,  Your  Majesty,  or  Comrade — call  me  what 
thou  wilt,  only  make  haste.  What  hast  thou  to  say  in  thy 
defence  ?  " 

"  In  my  defence  ?  "  thought  Gringoire ;  "  I  don't  quite  like 
the  sound  of  that.  I  am  the  one,"  he  stammered,  "  who 
this  morning " 

"  By  the  claws  of  the  devil,"  broke  in  Clopin.  "  thy  name, 
rascal,  and  nothing  more!  Hark  ye!  thou  standest  before 
three  puissant  sovereigns — myself,  Clopin  Trouillefou,  King 
of  Tunis,  successor  to  the  Grand  Coesre,  Supreme  Ruler  of 
the  Kingdom  of  Argot;  Mathis  Hunyadi  Spicali,  Duke  of 
Egypt  and  Bohemia,  the  yellow-vised  old  fellow  over  there 
with  a  clout  round  his  head;  Guillaume  Rousseau,  Emperor 
of  Galilee,  that  fat  fellow  who's  hugging  a  wench  instead  of 
attending  to  us.  We  are  thy  judges.  Thou  hast  entered 
into  the  Kingdom  of  Argot  without  being  an  Argotier,  and 
so  violated  the  privileges  of  our  city.     Thou  must  pay  the 

83 


Notre  Dame  de  Paris 

penalty  unless  thou  art  cither  a  capon,  a  franc  mitou,  or  a 
rifodc — that  is  to  say,  in  the  argot  of  honest  men,  either  a 
thief,  a  beggar,  or  a  vagabond.  Art  thou  any  one  of  these? 
Come,  justify  thyself — describe  thy  qualifications." 

"  Alas !  "  said  Gringoire,  "  I  have  not  that  honour,  I  am 
the  author " 

'*  That's  enough,"  resumed  Trouillefou  without  letting  him 
finish ;  "  thou  shalt  go  hang,  A  very  simple  matter,  mes- 
sieurs the  honest  burghers.  We  do  unto  you  as  we  are  done 
by.  The  same  law  that  you  mete  out  to  the  Truands,  the 
Truands  mete  out  to  you  again.  You  are  to  blame  if  that 
law  is  a  bad  one.  No  harm  if  now  and  then  an  honest  m.an 
grin  through  the  hempen  collar — that  makes  the  thing  hon- 
ourable. Come,  my  friend,  divide  thy  rags  cheerfully  among 
these  ladies.  I  am  going  to  string  thee  up  for  the  diversion 
of  the  Vagabonds,  and  thou  shalt  give  them  thy  purse  for  a 
pour-boire.  If  thou  hast  any  last  mummeries  to  go  through, 
thou  wilt  find  down  in  that  wooden  mortar  a  very  passable 
stone  God  the  Father  that  we  stole  from  Saint-Pierre-aux- 
Boeufs.  Thou  hast  four  minutes  to  throw  thy  soul  at  his 
head." 

This  was  a  formidable  harangue. 

"  Well  said,  by  my  soul !  "  cried  the  Emperor  of  Galilee, 
smas-hing  his  wine  pot  to  prop  up  his  table,  "  Clopin  Trou- 
illefou preaches  like  a  Holy  Rope !  " 

"  Messeigneurs  the  Emperors  and  the  Kings,"  said  Grin- 
goire coolly  (for  somehow  or  other  his  courage  had  returned 
to  him  and  he  spoke  resolutely),  "  you  fail  to  understand. 
My  name  is  Pierre  Gringoire.  I  am  a  poet,  the  author  of 
a  Morality  which  was  performed  this  morning  in  the  great 
Hall  of  the  Palais."^' 

"Ah!  'tis  thou,  Maitre,  is  it?"  answered  Clopin.  "  I  was 
there  myself,  par  la  tete  de  Dicu!  Well,  comrade,  is  it  any 
reason  because  thou  weariedst  us  to  death  this  morning  that 
thou  shouldst  not  be  hanged  to-night  ?  " 

"  I  shall  not  get  out  of  this  so  easily,"  thought  Gringoire, 
However,  he  had  a  try  for  it.  "  I  see  no  reason  why  the 
poets  should  not  come  under  the  head  of  vagabonds,"  he  said, 
"  As  to  thieves,  Mercurius  was  one " 

Here  Clopin  interrupted  him :  "  Thou  wastest  time  with 

84 


The  Broken   Pitcher 

thy  patter.  Pardicu,  man,  be  hanged  quietly  and  without 
more  ado !  " 

"  Pardon  me,  Monsieur  the  King  of  Tunis,"  returned 
Gringoire,  disputing  the  ground  inch  by  inch ;  "  it  is  well 
worth  your  trouble — one  moment — hear  me — you  will  not 
condemn  me  without  a  hearing " 

In  truth,  his  luckless  voice  was  drowned  by  the  hubbub 
around  him.  The  child  was  scraping  his  kettle  with  greater 
vigour  than  ever,  and,  as  a  climax,  an  old  woman  had  just 
placed  on  the  hot  trivet  a  pan  of  fat,  which  made  as  much 
noise,  spitting  and  fizzling  over  the  fire,  as  a  yelling  troop 
of  children  running  after  a  mask  at  Carnival  time. 

Meanwhile,  Clopin  Trouillefou,  after  conferring  a  moment 
with  his  brothers  of  Egypt  and  of  Galilee,  the  latter  of  whom 
was  quite  drunk,  cried  sharply,  "  Silence !  "  As  neither  the 
frying-pan  nor  the  kettle  paid  any  attention,  but  continued 
their  duet,  he  jumped  down  from  his  barrel,  gave  one  kick 
to  the  kettle,  which  sent  it  rolling  ten  paces  from  the  child, 
and  another  to  the  frying-pan,  upsetting  all  the  fat  into  the 
fire ;  then  he  solemnly  remounted  his  throne,  heedless  of  the 
smothered  cries  of  the  child  or  the  grumbling  of  the  old 
woman,  whose  supper  was  vanishing  in  beautiful  white  flames. 

At  a  sign  from  Trouillefou,  the  duke,  the  emperor,  the 
archisuppots,  and  the  cagoux  came  and  ranged  themselves 
round  him  in  a  horse-shoe,  of  which  Gringoire,  upon  whom 
they  still  kept  a  tight  hold,  occupied  the  centre.  It  was  a  semi- 
circle of  rags  and  tatters,  of  pitchforks  and  hatchets,  of  reeling 
legs  and  great  bare  arms,  of  sordid,  haggard,  and  sottish  faces. 
In  the  midst  of  this  Round  Table  of  the  riffraff,  Clopin  Trou- 
illefou, as  Doge  of  this  Senate,  as  head  of  this  Peerage,  as 
Pope  of  this  Conclave,  dominated  the  heterogeneous  mass ;  in 
the  first  place  by  the  whole  height  of  his  barrel,  and  then  by 
virtue  of  a  lofty,  fierce,  and  formidable  air  which  made  his 
eye  flash  and  rectified  in  his  savage  countenance  the  bestial 
type  of  the  vagabond  race.  He  was  like  a  wild  boar 
among  swine. 

"  Look  you,"  said  he  to  Gringoire,  stroking  his  unsightly 
chin  with  his  horny  hand.  "  I  see  no  reason  why  you  should 
not  be  hanged.  To  be  sure,  the  prospect  does  not  seem  to 
please  you ;  but  that  is  simply  because  you  townsfolk  are  not 

85 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

used  to  it — you  make  such  a  tremendous  business  of  it.  After 
all,  we  mean  you  no  harm.  But  here's  one  way  of  getting 
out  of  it  for  the  moment.     Will  you  be  one  of  us  ?  " 

One  may  imagine  the  effect  of  this  suggestion  on  Grin- 
goire,  who  saw  life  slipping  from  his  grasp,  and  had  already 
begun  to  loosen  his  hold  on  it.  He  clutched  it  again  with 
all  his  might. 

"  That  will  I  most  readily,"  he  replied. 

"  You  consent,"  resumed  Clopin,  "  to  enrol  yourself 
among  the  members  of  the  '  petite  Hambe  '  (the  little  dagger)  ?  " 

"  Of  the  Little  Dagger — certainly,"  answered  Gringoire. 

"  You  acknowledge  yourself  a  member  of  the  Free  Com- 
pany ?  "  went  on  the  King  of  Tunis. 

"  Of  the  Free  Company." 

"  A  subject  of  the  Kingdom  of  Argot  ?  " 

"  Of  the  Kingdom  of  Argot." 

"A  Vagabond?" 

"  A  Vagabond." 

"  With  heart  and  soul  ?  " 

"  Heart  and  soul." 

"  I  would  have  you  observe,"  added  the  King,  "  that  you 
will  be  none  the  less  hanged  for  all  that." 

"  Diablel"  exclaimed  the  poet. 

"  Only,"  continued  Clopin  imperturbably,  "  it  will  take 
place  somewhat  later,  with  more  ceremony,  and  at  the  ex- 
pense of  the  city  of  Paris,  on  a  fine  stone  gibbet,  and  by 
honest  men.     That's  some  consolation." 

"  I  am  glad  you  think  so,"  responded  Gringoire. 

"  Then,  there  are  other  advantages.  As  a  member  of  the 
Free  Company  you  will  have  to  contribute  neither  towards 
the  paving,  the  lighting,  nor  the  poor — taxes  to  which  the 
burghers  of  Paris  are  subject." 

"  So  be  it,"  said  the  poet.  "  I  agree.  I  am  a  Vagabond, 
an  Argotier,  a  Little  Dagger — whatever  you  please.  And, 
indeed,  I  was  all  that  already.  Monsieur  the  King  of  Tunis, 
for  I  am  a  philosopher  and  '  Omnia  in  philosophia,  omnes  m 
philosopho  continentur ' — as  you  are  aware." 

The  King  of  Tunis  knit  his  brows.  "  What  do  you  take 
me  for,  my  friend?  What  Jew  of  Hungary's  patter  are  you 
treating  us  to  now?     I  know  no  Hebrew.     It's  not  to  say 

86 


b 


The  Broken   Pitcher 

that  because  a  man's  a  robber  he  must  be  a  Jew.  Nay, 
indeed,  I  do  not  even  thieve  now — I  am  above  that — I  kill. 
Cutthroat,  yes ;  cutpurse,  no  !  " 

Gringoire  endeavoured  to  squeeze  some  extenuating  plea 
between  these  brief  ejaculations  jerked  at  him  by  the  offended 
monarch.  "  I  ask  your  pardon,  monsieur,  but  it  is  not 
Hebrew ;  it  is  Latin." 

"  I  tell  thee,"  retorted  the  enraged  Clopin,  "  that  I'm  not 
a  Jew,  and  I'll  have  thee  hanged,  ventre  de  synagogue!  as  well 
as  that  little  usurer  of  Judea  standing  beside  thee,  and  whom 
I  hope  to  see  some  day  nailed  to  a  counter,  Hke  the  bad 
penny  that  he  is." 

As  he  spoke,  he  pointed  to  the  little  bearded  Hungarian 
Jew  who  had  accosted  Gringoire  with  "  Facitote  caritateni,"  and 
who,  understanding  no  other  language,  was  much  astonished 
that  the  King  of  Tunis  should  thus  vent  his  wrath  on  him. 

At  length  Monseigneur  Clopin's  wrath  abated. 

"  So,  rascal,"  said  he  to  our  poet,  "  you  are  willing  to 
become  a  Vagabond  ?  " 

"  Willingly,"  replied  the  poet. 

"  Willing  is  not  all,"  said  Clopin  grufBy.  "  Good-will  never 
put  an  extra  onion  into  the  soup,  and  is  of  no  value  but 
for  getting  you  into  Paradise.  Now,  Paradise  and  Argot 
are  two  very  different  places.  To  be  received  into  Argot 
you^  must  first  prove  that  you  are  good  for  something,  and 
to  thaf  end  you  must  search  the  manikin." 

"  I  will  search,"  said  Gringoire,  "  anything  you  please." 

At  a  sign  from  Clopin,  several  Argotiers  detached  them- 
selves from  the  group  and  returned  a  moment  afterward,  bear- 
ing two  posts  ending  in  two  broad  wooden  feet,  which  insured 
them  standing  firmly  on  the  ground.  To  the  upper  end  of 
these  posts  they  attached  a  cross-beam,  the  whole  constituting 
a  very  pretty  portable  gallows,  which  Gringoire  had  the  satis- 
faction of  seeing  erected  before  him  in  the  twinkling  of  an 
eye.  It  was  quite  complete,  even  to  the  rope  swinging  grace^ 
fully  from  the  transverse  beam. 

"  What  are  they  after  now  ? "  Gringoire  asked  himself 
with  some  uneasiness.  The  jingling  of  little  bells,  which  at 
that  moment  sounded  on  his  ear,  banished  his  anxiety,  for  it 
proceeded  from  a  stuffed  figure  which  the  Vagabonds  were 

F  87  VoL  4 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

hanging  by  the  neck  to  the  rope,  a  sort  of  scarecrow,  dressed 
in  red  and  covered  with  Httle  tinkhng  bells  sufficient  to  equip 
thirty  Castilian  mules.  The  jingling  of  these  thousand  bells 
continued  for  some  time  under  the  vibration  of  the  rope,  then 
died  slowly  away  and  sank  into  complete  silence  as  the  figure 
hung  motionless. 

Then  Clopin,  pointing  to  a  rickety  old  stool  placed  beneath 
the  figure,  said  to  Gringoire,  '       ount  that." 

"  Death  of  the  devil!  "  obj.  ..d  Gringoire,  ''  I  shall  break 
my  neck.  Your  stool  halts  like  a  distich  of  INIartial :  one  leg 
is  hexameter  and  one  pentameter." 

"  Get  up,"  repeated  Clopin. 

Gringoire  mounted  upon  the  stool  and  succeeded,  though 
not  without  some  oscillations  of  head  and  arms,  in  finding 
his  centre  of  gravity. 

"  Now,"  continued  the  King  of  Tunis,  "  twist  your  right 
foot  round  your  left  leg,  and  stand  on  tip-toe  on  your 
left  foot." 

"  Monseigneur,"  remonstrated  Gringoire,  "  you  are  de- 
termined, then,  that  I  should  break  some  of  my  limbs?  " 

Clopin  shook  his  head.  "  Hark  ye,  friend — you  talk  too 
much.  In  two  words,  this  is  what  you  are  to  do :  stand  on 
tip-toe,  as  I  told  you ;  you  will  then  be  able  to  reach  the 
manikin's  pocket ;  you  will  put  your  hand  into  it  and  pull 
out  a  purse  that  is  there.  If  you  do  all  this  without  a  sound 
from  one  of  the  bells,  well  and  good;  you  shall  be  a  Vaga- 
bond. We  shall  then  have  nothing  further  to  do  but  belabour 
you  well  for  a  week." 

"Ventre  Dieit!  I  will  be  careful,"  said  Gringoire.  "And 
what  if  I  make  the  bells  ring?  " 

"  Then  you  will  be  hanged.     Do  you  understand  ?  " 

"  No,  not  at  all,"  declared  Gringoire. 

"  Listen  once  more.  You  are  to  pick  the  manikin's 
pocket,  and  if  a  single  bell  stirs  during  the  operation  you 
will  be  hanged.     You  understand  that  ?  " 

"  Yes,"  said  Gringoire,  "  I  understand  that.     What  next?  " 

"  If  you  succeed  in  drawing  out  the  purse  without  sound- 
ing a  single  bell,  you  are  a  Vagabond,  and  you  will  be  soundly 
beaten  for  eight  days  running.  You  understand  now,  no 
doubt." 

88 


The  Broken  Pitcher 

"  No,  monseigneur,  I  do  not  understand.  Hanged  in  one 
case,  beaten  in  the  other ;  where  does  my  advantage  come  in  ?" 

"  And  what  about  becoming  a  rogue  ?  "  rejoined  Clopin. 
"  Is  that  nothing?  It's  in  your  own  interest  that  we  beat  you, 
so  that  you  may  be  hardened  against  stripes." 

"  I  am  greatly  obHged  to  you,"  replied  the  poet. 

"  Come,  make  haste !  "  said  the  King  with  a  resounding 
kick  against  his  barrel.  "  Pick  the  manikin's  pocket  and 
be  done  with  it.  I  warn  you  for  the  last  time  that  if  I  hear 
the  faintest  tinkle  you  shall  take  the  manikin's  place." 

The  whole  crew  of  Argotiers  applauded  Clopin's  words, 
and  ranged  themselves  in  a  circle  round  the  gallows  with 
such  pitiless  laughter,  that  Gringoire  saw  plainly  that  he  was 
afifording  them  too  much  amusement  not  to  have  cause  to 
fear  the  worst.  He  had  therefore  no  hope  left,  save  perhaps 
in  the  faint  chance  of  succeeding  in  the  desperate  task  imposed 
upon  him.  He  resolved  to  risk  it,  but  he  first  addressed  a 
fervent  prayer  to  the  man  of  straw  whom  he  was  preparing 
to  rob,  and  whose  heart  he  was  more  likely  to  soften  than 
those  of  the  rogues.  These  myriad  bells  with  their  little 
brazen  tongues  seemed  to  him  like  so  many  asps  with  mouths 
open  ready  to  hiss  and  bite. 

"  Oh,"  he  breathed,  ''  can  it  be  that  my  life  depends  on 
the  faintest  vibration  of  the  smallest  of  these  bells?  Oh," 
he  added,  clasping  his  hands,  "  oh,  clashing,  jingling,  tinkling 
bells,  be  silent,  I  implore  1  " 

He  made  one  more  attempt  with  Trouillefou. 

"  And  if  there  should  come  a  puff  of  wind  ?  " 

"  You  will  be  hanged,"  replied  the  other  without  hesi- 
tation. 

Realizing  that  there  was  no  respite,  no  delay  or  subterfuge 
possible,  he  bravely  set  about  his  task.  He  twisted  his  right 
foot  round  his  left  ankle,  rose  on  his  left  foot,  and  stretched 
out  his  hand ;  but  as  he  touched  the  manikin,  his  body,  being 
now  supported  but  on  one  foot,  swayed  on  the  stool  which 
had  but  three ;  he  clutched  mechanically  at  the  figure,  lost  his 
balance,  and  fell  heavily  to  the  ground,  deafened  by  the  fatal 
clashing  of  the  manikin's  thousand  bells,  while  the  figure, 
yielding  to  the  thrust  of  his  hand,  first  revolved  on  its  own 
axis,  and  then  swung  majestically  between  the  two  posts. 

89 


Notre- Dame  de   Paris 

"  Malediction !  "  exclaimed  the  poet  as  he  fell,  and  he  lay 
face  downward  on  the  earth  as  if  dead. 

Nevertheless,  he  heard  the  terrible  carillon  going  on  above 
his  head,  and  the  diabolical  laughter  of  the  thieves,  and  the 
voice  of  Trouillefou  saying :  "  Lift  the  fellow  up  and  hang 
him  double-quick !  " 

Gringoire  rose  to  his  feet.  They  had  already  unhooked 
the  manikin  to  make  room  for  him. 

The  Argotiers  forced  him  to  mount  the  stool.  Clopin 
then  came  up,  passed  the  rope  round  his  neck,  and  clapping 
him  on  the  shoulders,  "  Adieu,  rami,"  he  said.  "  You  don't 
escape  this  time,  not  even  if  you  were  as  cunning  as  the 
Pope  himself." 

The  word  "  mercy  "  died  on  Gringoire's  lips.  He  looked 
around  him — not  a  sign  of  hope — all  were  laughing. 

"  Bellevigne  de  I'Etoile,"  said  the  King  of  Tunis  to  a 
gigantic  rogue,  who  at  once  stood  forth  from  the  rest,  "  climb 
up  on  to  the  top  beam." 

Bellevigne  de  I'Etoile  clambered  nimbly  up,  and  the  next 
instant  Gringoire,  on  raising  his  eyes,  saw  with  terror  that 
he  was  astride  the  cross-beam  above  his  head. 

"  Now,"  resumed  Clopin  Trouillefou,  "  when  I  clap  my 
hands,  do  you,  Andry  le  Rouge,  knock  over  the  stool  with 
your  knee ;  Frangois  Chante-Prune  will  hang  on  to  the  rascal's 
legs,  and  you,  Bellevigne,  jump  on  to  his  shoulders — but 
all  three  at  the  same  time,  do  you  hear?" 

Gringoire  shuddered. 

"  Ready  ? "  cried  Clopin  Trouillefou  to  the  three  Argotiers 
waiting  to  fall  on  Gringoire  like  spiders  on  a  f^y.  The  poor 
victim  had  a  moment  of  horrible  suspense,  during  which 
Clopin  calmly  pushed  into  the  fire  with  the  point  of  his  shoe 
some  twigs  of  vine  which  the  flame  had  not  yet  reached. 

"  Ready  ?  "  he  repeated,  and  raised  his  hands  to  clap.  A 
second  more  and  it  would  have  been  all  over. 

But  he  stopped  short,  struck  by  a  sudden  idea.  "  One 
moment,"  he  said ;  "  I  had  forgotten.  It  is  the  custom  with 
us  not  to  hang  a  man  without  first  asking  if  there's  any 
woman  who  will  have  him.  Comrade,  that's  your  last  chance. 
You  must  marry  either  an  Argotiere  or  the  rope." 

Absurd  as  this  gipsy  law  may  appear  to  the  reader,  he 

90 


The   Broken   Pitcher 

will  find  it  set  forth  at  full  length  in  old  English  law. 
(See  Burington's  Observations.) 

Gringoire  breathed  again.  It  was  the  second  reprieve  he 
had  had  within  the  last  half  hour.  Yet  he  could  not  place 
much  confidence  in  it. 

"  Hola !  "  shouted  Clopin,  who  had  reascended  his  throne. 
"  Hola  there !  women — wenches — is  there  any  one  of  you, 
from  the  witch  to  her  cat,  any  jade  among  you  who'll  have 
this  rogue  ?  Hola  Colette  la  Charonne !  Elisabeth  Trouvain  ! 
Simone  Jodouyne !  Marie  Piedebou !  Thonne-la-Longue ! 
Berarde  Fanouel !  Michelle  Genaille !  Claude  Ronge-oreille ! 
Mathurine  Girorou  !  Hullah  !  Isabeau  la  Thierrye  !  Come 
and  look !    A  husband  for  nothing !    Who'll  have  him  ?  " 

Gringoire,  in  this  miserable  plight,  was  doubtless  not 
exactly  tempting.  The  ladies  seemed  but  little  moved  at  the 
proposal,  for  the  unfortunate  man  heard  them  answer :  "  No, 
no — hang  him !  Then  we  shall  all  get  some  enjoyment  out 
of  him !  " 

Three  of  them,  however,  did  come  forward  and  inspect 
him.  The  first,  a  big,  square-faced  young  woman,  carefully 
examined  the  philosopher's  deplorable  doublet.  His  coat  was 
threadbare  and  with  more  holes  in  it  than  a  chestnut  roaster. 
The  woman  made  a  wry  face.  "  An  old  rag,"  she  muttered, 
and  turning  to  Gringoire,  "  Let's  see  thy  cloak." 

"  I  have  lost  it,"  answered  Gringoire. 

"Thy  hat?" 

"  They  took  it  from  me." 

"Thy  shoes?" 

"  The  soles  are  coming  ofif." 

"  Thy  purse  ?  " 

"  Alas !  "  stammered  Gringoire,  "  I  haven't  a  single  denier 
parisis." 

"  Then  be  hanged  and  welcome !  "  retorted  the  woman, 
turning  her  back  on  him. 

The  second,  a  hideous  old  beldame,  black  and  wrinkled, 
and  so  ugly  as  to  be  conspicuous  even  in  the  Court  of 
Miracles,  came  and  viewed  him  from  all  sides.  He  almost 
trembled  lest  she  should  take  a  fancy  to  him.  But  she  mut- 
tered between  her  teeth,  "  He's  too  lean,"  and  went  away. 

The  third  was  a  young  girl,  rosy-cheeked  and  not  too 

91 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

ill-favoured.  "  Save  me ! "  whispered  the  poor  devil.  She 
considered  him  for  a  moment  with  an  air  of  pity,  then  cast 
down  her  eyes,  played  with  a  fold  in  her  petticoat,  and 
stood  irresolute.  Gringoire  followed  her  every  movement 
with  his  eyes — it  was  the  last  gleam  of  hope. 

"  No,"  she  said  at  length,  "  no ;  Guillaume  Longjoue 
would  beat  me."     So  she  rejoined  the  others. 

"  Comrade,"  said  Clopin,  "  you've  no  luck." 

Then,  standing  up  on  his  barrel :  "  Nobody  bids  ? "  he 
cried,  mimicking  the  voice  of  an  aiurtioneer  to  the  huge 
delight  of  the  crowd.  "  Nobody  bids  ?  Going — going — " 
and,  with  a  sign  of  the  head  to  the  gallows — "  gone !  " 

Bellevigne  de  TEtoile,  Andry  le  Rouge,  Frangois  Chante- 
Prune  again  approached  Gringoire. 

At  that  moment  a  cry  arose  among  the  Argotiers :  "  La 
Esmeralda !  la  Esmeralda  !  " 

Gringoire  started,  and  turned  in  the  direction  whence  the 
shouts  proceeded.  The  crowd  opened  and  made  way  for  a 
fair  and  radiant  figure.     Jt  was  the  gipsy  girl. 

"La  Esmeralda?"  said  Gringoire,  amazed  even  in  the 
midst  of  his  emotions  how  instantaneously  this  magic  w^ord 
linked  together  all  the  recollections  of  his  day. 

This  engaging  creature  seemed  to  hold  sway  even  over 
the  Court  of  Miracles  by  the  power  of  her  exceeding  charm 
and  beauty.  The  Argotiers,  male  and  female,  drew  aside 
gently  to  let  her  pass,  and  their  brutal  faces  softened  at 
her  look. 

She  approached  the  victim  with  her  firm,  light  step,  fol- 
lowed closely  by  her  pretty  Djali.  Gringoire  was  more  dead 
than  alive.     She  regarded  him  a  moment  in  silence. 

"  You  are  going  to  hang  this  man  ?  "  she  asked  gravely 
of  Clopin. 

"  Yes,  sister,"  replied  the  King  of  Tunis ;  "  that  is,  unless 
thou  wilt  take  him  for  thy  husband." 

She  thrust  out  her  pretty  under  lip. 

"  I  will  take  him,"  said  she. 

This  confirmed  Gringoire  more  than  ever  in  his  opinion 
that  he  had  been  in  a  dream  since  the  morning,  and  that  this 
was  merely  a  continuation  of  it.  The  transformation,  though 
pleasing,  was  violent. 

92 


A  Wedding-Night 


They  instantly  unfastened  the  noose  and  let  the  poet 
descend  from  the  stool,  after  which,  he  was  obliged  to  sit 
down,  so  overcome  was  he  by  emotion. 

The  Duke  of  Egypt  proceeded  without  a  word  to  bring 
an  earthenware  pitcher,  which  the  gipsy  girl  handed  to  Grin- 
goire^"  saying,  "  Throw  it  ;on  the  ground." 

The  pitcher  broke  in  pieces. 

"Brother,"  said  the  Duke  of  Egypt,  laying  hands  on  the 
two  heads,  "  she  is  your  wife ;  sister,  he  is  your  husband — 
.for  four  years.     Qp^XQUr.  .ways." 


VII 

A  WEDDING-NIGHT 


A  FEW  minutes  afterward  our  poet  found  himself  In  a 
warm  and  cosy  little  chamber  with  a  vaulted  roof,  seated  in 
front  of  a  table  which  seemed  impatient  to  share  some  of 
the  contents  of  a  small  larder  hanging  on  the  wall  close  by, 
having  a  good  bed  in  prospect,  and  a  tcte-a-tete  with  a  pretty 
girl.  The  adventure  smacked  decidedly  of  witchcraft.  He 
began  to  take  himself  seriously  for  the  hero  of  a  fairy-tale, 
and  looked  about  him  from  time  to  time  to  see  whether  the 
fiery  chariot  drawn  by  winged  gryphons,  which  alone  could 
have  transported  him  so  rapidly  from  Tartarus  to  Paradise, 
were  still  there.  At  intervals,  too,  he  steadily  eyed  the  holes 
in  his  doublet,  in  order  to  keep  a  firm  hold  on  reality — not 
to  let  the  earth  slip  away  from  him  altogether.  His  reason, 
tossing  on  delusive  waves,  had  only  this  frail  spar  to  cling  to. 

The  girl  paid  apparently  not  the  slightest  heed  to  him, 
but  came  and  went,  shifting  one  thing  and  another,  talking 
to  her  goat,  making  her  little  pouting  grimace  now  and  then 
just  as  if  he  had  not  been  there. 

At  last  she  came  and  seated  herself  near  the  table,  so  that 
Gringoire  could  contemplate  her  at  his  leisure. 

You  have  been  young,  reader — maybe,  indeed,  you  are 
fortunate  enough  to  be  so  still.     It  is  impossible  but  that 

93 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

more  than  once  (and  for  my  part  I  have  spent  whole  days 
^the  best  employed  of  my  life — in  this  pursuit)  you  have 
followed  from  bush  to  bush,  beside  some  running  brook,  on 
a  sunny  day,  some  lovely  dragon-fly,  all  iridescent,  blue  and 
green,  darting  hither  and  thither,  kissing  the  tip  of  every 
spray.  Can  you  forget  the  adoring  curiosity  with  which  your 
thoughts  and  your  eyes  were  fixed  upon  this  little  darting, 
humming  whirlwind  of  purple  and  azure  wings,  in  the  midst 
of  which  floated  an  intangible  form,  veiled,  as  it  were,  by  the 
very  rapidity  of  its  motion?  The  aerial  creature,  dimly  dis- 
cerned through  all  this  flutter  of  wings,  seemed  to  you  chi- 
merical, illusory,  intangible.  But  when  at  last  the  dragon-fly 
settled  on  the  end  of  a  reed,  and  you  could  examine,  with 
bated  breath,  the  gauzy  wings,  the  long  enamel  robe,  the  two 
crystal  globes  of  eyes,  what  amazement  seized  you,  and  what 
fear  lest  the  exquisite  creature  should  again  vanish  into 
shadow,  the  vision  into  air.  Recall  these  impressions,  and 
you  will  readily  understand  Gringoire's  feelings  as  he  con- 
templated, in  her  visible  and  palpable  form,  that  Esmeralda, 
of  whom,  up  till  then,  he  had  only  caught  a  glimpse  through 
a  whirl  of  dance  and  song  and  fluttering  skirts. 

Sinking  deeper  and  deeper  into  his  reverie :  "  So  this," 
he  said  to  himself,  as  he  followed  her  vaguely  with  his  eyes, 
"  this  is  what  they  meant  by  Esmeralda — a  divine  creature 
— a  dancer  of  the  streets.  So  high,  and  yet  so  low.  It  was 
she  who  dealt  the  death-blow  to  my  M3^stery  this  morning — 
she  it  is  who  saves  my  life  to-night.  My  evil  genius — my 
good  angel !  And  a  pretty  woman,  on  my  soul ! — who  must 
have  loved  me  to  distraction  to  have  taken  me  like  this. 
Which  reminds  me,"  said  he,  suddenly  rising  from  his  seat, 
impelled  by  that  sense  of  the  practical  which  formed  the  basis 
of  his  character  and  his  philosophy — "  I'm  not  very  clear  how 
it  came  about,  but  the  fact  remains  that  I  am  her  husband." 

With  this  idea  in  his  mind  and  in  his  eyes,  he  approached 
the  girl  with  so  enterprising  and  gallant  an  air  that  she 
drew  back. 

"  What  do  you  want  with  me  ?  "  said  she. 

"Can  you  ask,  adorable  Esmeralda?"  responded  Grin- 
goire  in  such  impassioned  accents  that  he  was  astonished  at 
himself. 

94 


A   Wedding-Night 


The  gipsy  stared  at  him  wide-eyed.  '*  I  don't  know  what 
you  mean." 

"  What  ?  "  rejoined  Gringoire,  growing  warmer  and  warm- 
er, and  reflecting  that  after  all  it  was  only  a  virtue  of  the  Court 
of  Miracles  he  had  to  deal  with,  "  am  I  not  thine,  sweet- 
heart ;  art  thou  not  mine  ?  "  and  without  more  ado  he  clasped 
his  arms  about  her. 

The  gipsy  slipped  through  his  hands  like  an  eel;  wii  _ne 
bound  she  was  at  the  farther  end  of  the  little  chai.-.^er, 
stooped,  and  rose  with  a  little  dagger  in  her  hand  before 
Gringoire  had  even  time  to  see  where  she  drew  it  from. 
There  she  stood,  angry  and  erect,  breathing  fast  with  parted 
lips  and  fluttering  nostrils,  her  cheeks  red  as  peonies,  her  eyes 
darting  lightning,  while  at  the  same  moment  the  little  white 
goat  planted  itself  in  front  of  her,  ready  to  do  battle  with 
the  offender,  as  it  lowered  its  gilded  but  extremely  sharp 
horns  at  him.  In  a  twinkling  the  dragon-fly  had  turned  wasp 
with  every  disposition  to  sting. 

Our  philosopher  stood  abashed,  glancing  foolishly  from 
the  goat  to  its  mistress. 

"  Blessed  Virgin !  "  he  exclaimed  as  soon  as  his  astonish- 
ment would  permit  him,  "  what  a  pair  of  spitfires !  " 

The  gipsy  now  broke  silence. 

"  You  are  an  impudent  fellow,"  she  said. 

"  Pardon  me,  mademoiselle,"  retorted  Gringoire  with  a 
smile,  "then  why  did  you  take  me  for  your  husband?" 

"  Was  I  to  let  you  be  hanged?  " 

"  So  that,"  returned  the  poet,  somewhat  disabused  of  his 
amorous  expectations,  "  was  all  you  thought  of  in  saving 
me  from  the  gallows?  " 

"  And  what  more  should  I  have  thought  of,  do  you 
suppose?  " 

Gringoire  bit  his  lip.  "  It  seems,"  said  he,  "  that  I  am 
not  quite  so  triumphant  in  Cupido  as  I  imagined.  But  in 
that  case,  why  have  broken  the  poor  pitcher?  " 

All  this  time  Esmeralda's  dagger  and  the  goat's  horns 
continued  on  the  defensive. 

"  Mademoiselle  Esmeralda,"  said  the  poet,  "  let  us  come 
to  terms.  As  I  am  not  the  recorder  at  the  Chatelet  I  shall 
not  make  difficulties  about  your  carrying  a  dagger  thus  in 

95 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Paris,  in  the  teeth  of  the  ordinances  and  prohibitions  of  Mon- 
sieur the  Provost,  though  you  must  be  aware  that  Noel  Les- 
crivain  was  condemned  only  last  week  to  pay  ten  sols  parisis 
for  carrying  a  cutlass.  However,  that  is  no  affair  of  mine,  and 
I  will  come  to  the  point.  I  swear  to  you  by  my  hope  of 
salvation  that  I  will  not  approach  you  without  your  consent 
and  permissi'on ;  but,  I  implore  you,  give  me  some  supper." 

Truth  to  tell,  Gringoire,  like  M.  Depreaux,  was  "  but  little 
inclined  to  sensuality."  He  had  none  of  those  swashbuckler 
and  conquering  w^ays  that  take  girls  by  storm.  In  love,  as 
in  all  other  matters,  he  willingly  resigned  himself  to  temporiz- 
ing and  a  middle  course,  and  a  good  supper  in  charming 
tete-d-tcte,  especially  when  he  was  hungry,  appeared  to  him 
an  admirable  interlude  between  the  prologue  and  the  denoue- 
ment of  an  amatory  adventure. 

The  gipsy  made  no  reply.  She  pouted  her  lips  disdain- 
fully, tossed  her  little  head  like  a  bird,  then  burst  into  a  peal 
of  laughter,  and  the  dainty  little  weapon  vanished  as  it  had 
appeared,  without  Gringoire  being  able  to  observe  where  the 
wasp  concealed  its  sting. 

A  minute  afterward  there  appeared  upon  the  table  a  loaf 
of  bread,  a  slice  of  bacon,  some  wrinkled  apples,  and  a  mug 
of  beer.  Gringoire  fell  to  ravenously.  To  hear  the  furious 
clatter  of  his  fork  on  the  earthenware  platter  you  would  have 
concluded  that  all  his  love  had  turned  to  hunger. 

Seated  opposite  to  him,  the  girl  let  him  proceed  in  silence, 
being  visibly  preoccupied  with  some  other  thought,  at  which 
she  smiled  from  time  to  time,  while  her  gentle  hand  absently 
caressed  the  intelligent  head  of  the  goat  pressed  gently  against 
her  knee.  A  candle  of  yellow  wax  lit  up  this  scene  of  voracity 
and  musing.  Presently,  the  first  gnawings  of  his  stomach 
being  satisfied,  Gringoire  had  a  pang  of  remorse  at  seeing 
that  nothing  remained  of  the  feast  h\.]t  one  apple.  "  You  are 
not  eating,  Mademoiselle  Esmeralda?" 

She  replied  with  a  shake  of  the  head,  and  fixed  her  pensive 
gaze  on  the  arched  roof  of  the  chamber. 

"  Now,  what  in  the  world  is  she  absorbed  in  ?  "  thought 
Gringoire  as  he  followed  her  gaze :  "  it  can't  possibly  be  that 
grinning  dwarf's  face  carved  in  the  keystone  of  the  vaulting. 
Que  diable!  I  can  well  stand  the  comparison ! " 

96 


A   Wedding-Night 


He  raised  his  voice  :  "  Mademoiselle  !  " 

She  seemed  not  to  hear  him. 

He  tried  again  still  louder :  "  Mademoiselle  Esmeralda !  '* 

Labour  lost.  The  girl's  mind  was  elsewhere  and  Grin- 
goire's  voice  had  not  the  power  to  call  it  back.  Fortunately, 
the  goat  struck  in  and  began  pulling  its  mistress  gently  by 
the  sleeve. 

"  What  is  it,  Djali  ?  "  said  the  gipsy  quickly,  as  if  starting 
out  of  a  dream. 

"  It  is  hungry,"  said  Gringoire,  delighted  at  any  opening 
for  a  conversation. 

Esmeralda  began  crumbling  some  bread,  which  Djali  ate 
daintily  out  of  the  hollow  of  her  hand. 

Gringoire  gave  her  no  time  to  resume  her  musings.  He 
hazarded  a  delicate  question. 

"  So  you  will  not  have  me  for  your  husband  ?  " 

The  girl  looked  at  him  steadily.     "  No,"  she  said. 

"  Nor  for  your  lover  ?  " 

She  thrust  out  her  under  lip  and  answered  "  No." 

"For  a  friend,  then?"  continued  Gringoire. 

She  regarded  him  fixedly,  then  after  a  moment's  reflec- 
tion, "  Perhaps,"  she  replied. 

This  perhaps,  so  dear  to  the  philosopher,  encouraged 
Gringoire.     "  Do  you  know  what  friendship  is  ?  "  he  asked, 

"  Yes,"  returned  the  gipsy.  "  It  is  to  be  like  brother  and 
sister;  two  souls  that  touch  without  mingling;  two  fingers  of 
the  same  hand." 

"  And  love  ?  "  proceeded  Gringoire. 

"  Oh,  love,"  she  said,  and  her  voice  vibrated  and  her  eyes 
shone,  "  that  is  to  be  two  and  yet  only  one — a  man  and  a 
woman  blending  into  an  angel — it  is  heaven !  " 

As  she  spoke,  the  dancing  girl  of  the  streets  glowed  with 
a  beauty  which  affected  Gringoire  strangely,  and  which 
seemed  to  him  in  perfect  harmony  with  the  almost  Oriental 
exaltation  of  her  words.  Her  chaste  and  rosy  lips  were  parted 
in  a  half  smile,  her  pure  and  open  brow  was  ruffled  for  a 
moment  by  her  thoughts,  as  a  mirror  is  dimmed  by  a  pass- 
ing breath,  and  from  under  her  long,  dark,  drooping  lashes 
there  beamed  a  sort  of  inefifable  light,  imparting  to  her  face 
that  ideal  suavity  which  later  on  Raphael  found  at  the  mys- 

97 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

tic  point  of  intersection  of  the  virginal,  the  human,  and  the 
divine. 

Nevertheless,  Gringoire  continued :  "  What  must  a  man 
be,  then,  to  win  your  favour  ?  " 

"  He  must  be  a  man !  " 

"And  I,"  said  he;  "what  am  I,  then?" 

"  A  man  goes  helmet  on  head,  sword  in  hand,  and  gilt 
spurs  on  heel." 

"  Good,"  said  Gringoire,  "  the  horse  makes  the  man.  Do 
you  love  any  one  ?  " 

"As  a  lover?" 

"  As  a  lover." 

She  paused  thoughtfully  for  a  moment,  then  she  said 
with  a  peculiar  expression,  "  I  shall  know  that  soon." 

"And  why  not  to-night?"  rejoined  the  poet  in  tender 
accents ;  "  why  not  me  ?  " 

She  gave  him  a  cold,  grave  look.  "  I  could  never  love 
a  man  unless  he  could  protect  me." 

Gringoire  reddened  and  accepted  the  rebuke.  The  girl 
evidently  alluded  to  the  feeble  assistance  he  had  rendered  her 
in  the  critical  situation  of  a  couple  of  hours  before.  This 
recollection,  effaced  by  the  subsequent  adventures  of  the 
evening,  now  returned  to  him.     He  smote  his  forehead. 

"  That  reminds  me,  mademoiselle,  I  ought  to  have  begun 
by  that.  Pardon  my  foolish  distraction.  How  did  you  man- 
age to  escape  out  of  the  clutches  of  Quasimodo  ?  " 

The. gipsy  shuddered.  "Oh,  the  horrible  hunchback!" 
she  exclaimed,  hiding  her  face  in  her  hands,  and  shivering 
as  if  overcome  by  violent  cold. 

"  Horrible  indeed,"  agreed  Gringoire ;  "  but  how,"  he  per- 
sisted, "  did  you  get  away  from  him  ?  " 

Esmeralda  smiled,  heaved  a  little  sigh,  and  held  her  peace. 

"  Do  you  know  why  he  followed  you  ?  "  asked  Gringoire, 
trying  to  come  at  the  information  he  sought  by  another  way. 

"  No,  I  do  not,"  answered  the  gipsy.  "  But,"  she  added 
sharply,  "  you  were  following  me  too.  Why  did  you  fol- 
low me  ?  " 

"  To  tell  you  the  honest  truth,"  replied  Gringoire,  "  I  don't 
know  that  either." 

There  was  a  pause.     Gringoire  was  scratching  the  table 

98 


A   Wedding-Night 


with  his  knife ;  the  girl  smiled  to  herself  and  seemed  to  be 
looking  at  something  through  the  wall.  Suddenly  she  began 
to  sing,  hardly  above  her  breath : 

"  Quando  las  pintades  aves 
Mudas  estan,  y  la  tierra  ..."  * 

She  stopped  abruptly,  and  fell  to  stroking  Djali. 

"  That  is  a  pretty  little  animal  you  have  there." 

"  It  is  my  sister,"  she  replied. 

"  Why  do  they  call  you  Esmeralda  ?  "  inquired  the  poet. 

"f  don't  know." 

"  Oh,  do  tell  me." 

She  drew  from  her  bosom  a  little  oblong  bag  hanging 
round  her  neck  by  a  chain  of  berries.  The  bag,  which 
exhaled  a  strong  smell  of  camphor,  was  made  of  green  silk, 
and  had  in  the  middle  a  large  green  glass  bead  like  an 
emerald.     "  It  is  perhaps  because  of  that,"  said  she. 

Gringoire  puF'out  his  hand  for  the  little  bag,  but  she  drew 

back.     "  Do  jagLJouch  Jtj It  is  an_amulet..and  either  you 

will  do  mischief  to  the  charm,  or  it  will  hurt  you." 

Tlie  poet's  curiosity  tsecame  more  and  more  lively.  "  Who 
gave  it  you  ?  " 

She  laid  a  finger  on  her  lips  and  hid  the  amulet  again  in 
her  bosom.  He  tried  her  with  further  questions,  but  she 
scarcely  answered. 

"  What  does  the  word  Esmeralda  mean  ?  " 

"  I  dol^Tki^m^^?  ~"' 

"  What  language  is  it  ?  " 

"  Egyptian,  I  thinl<." 

"  I  thought  as  much,"  said  Gringoire.  "  You  are  not  a 
native  of  this  country  ?  " 

"  I  don't  know." 

"  Have  you  father  or  mother?" 

She  began  singing  to  an  old  air : 

"  Mon  p^re  est  oiseau, 
Ma  mere  est  oiselle. 

*  When  the  bright-hued  birds  are  silent, 
And  the  earth  .  .  . 

99 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

Je  passe  I'eau  sans  nacelle, 
Je  passe  I'eau  sans  bateau. 
Ma  m^re  est  oiselle, 
Mon  pere  est  oiseau."  * 

"  Very  good,"  said  Gringoire.  "  How  old  were  you  when 
vou  came  to  France  ?  " 

"  Quite  little." 

"And  to  Paris?" 

"  Last  year.  As  we  came  through  the  Porte  Papale  I 
saw  the  reed  linnet  fly  overhead.  It  was  the  end  of  August ; 
I  said,  It  will  be  a  hard  winter." 

"  And  so  it  was,"  said  Gringoire,  delighted  at  this  turn 
in  the  conversation.     "  I  spent  it  in  blowing  on  my  fingers. 
So  joujiave  the  gift  of  prophecy  ?  " 
"^  She  lapsed^ligam  into  her  laconic  answers — "  No." 

"  That  man  whom  you  call  the  Duke  of  Egypt,  is  he  the 
head  of  your  tribe  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  Well,  but  it  was  he  who  united  us  in  marriage,"  observed 
the  poet  timidly. 

She  made  her  favourite  little  grimace.  "  Why,  I  don't 
even  know  your  name !  " 

"  My  name  ?  If  you  wish  to  know  it,  here  it  is — Pierre 
Gringoire." 

"  I  know  a  finer  one  than  that,"  said  she. 

"  Ah,  cruel  one !  "  responded  the  poet.  "  Never  mind,  you 
cannot  provoke  me.  See,  perhaps  you  will  like  me  when 
vou  know  me  better ;  besides,  vou  have  told  me  vour  story 
with  so  much  confidence  that  it  is  only  fair  that  I  should 
tell  you  something  of  mine.  You  must  know,  then,  that 
my  name  is  Pierre  Gringoire.  and  that  my  father  farmed  the 
olBce  of  notary  in  Gonesse.  He  was  hanged  by  the  Burgun- 
dians,  and  my  mother  was  murdered  by  the  Picards  at  the  time 
of  the  siege  of  Paris,  twenty  years  ago.    So,  at  six  years  of  age 

*  My  father's  a  bird, 
^. .  ft»^^^*\.  ^y  mother's  another. 


<S'/^      ^A'ff\  '  P^^^  over  the  water 

,  ^f  \^\  Without  boat  or  wherry. 

-(  LIBRARY  j  '^  J  My  mother's  a  bird, 

i>V  J ^1  And  so  is  my  father. 


100 


A  Wedding-Night 


I  was  an  orphan,  with  no  sole  to  my  foot  but  the  pavement  of 
Paris.  How  I  got  through  the  interval  from  six  to  sixteen 
I  should  be  at  a  loss  to  tell.  A  fruit-seller  would  throw  me 
a  plum  here,  a  baker  a  crust  of  bread  there.  At  night  I 
would  get  picked  up  by  the  watch,  who  put  me  in  prison, 
where  at  least  I  found  a  truss  of  straw  to  lie  upon.  All  this 
did  not  prevent  me  from  growing  tall  and  thin,  as  you  per- 
ceive. In  winter  I  warmed  myself  in  the  sun  in  the  porch 
of  the  Hotel  de  Sens,  and  I  thought  it  very  absurd  that  the 
bonfires  for  the  Feast  of  Saint- John  should  be  reserved  for  the 
dog-days.  At  sixteen  I  wished  to  adopt  a  trade.  I  tried 
everything  in  turn.  I  became  a  soldier,  but  I  was  lacking 
in  courage ;  friar,  but  I  was  not  sufficiently  pious — besides, 
I  am  a  poor  hand  at  drinking.  In  desperation  I  apprenticed 
myself  to  a  Guild  of  Carpenters,  but  I  was  not  strong  enough. 
I  had  more  inclination  towards  being  a  school-master :  to  be 
sure,  I  could  not  read,  but  that  need  not  have  prevented  me. 
At  last  I  was  obliged  to  acknowledge  that  something  was 
lacking  in  me  for  every  profession ;  so,  finding  that  I  was 
good  for  nothing,  I,  of  my  own  free  will,  turned  poet  and 
composer  of  rhythms.  That  is  a  calling  a  man  can  adopt 
when  he  is  a  vagabond,  and  is  always  better  than  robbing, 
as  some  young  friends  of  mine,  who  are  themselves  footpads, 
urged  me  to  do.  One  fine  day  I  was  fortunate  enough  to 
encounter  Dom  Claude  Frollo,  the  reverend  Archdeacon  of 
Notre-Dame.  He  interested  himself  in  me,  and  I  owe  it  to 
him  that  I  am  to-day  a  finished  man  of  letters,  being  well 
versed  in  Latin,  from  Cicero's  '  Offices '  to  the  '  Mortuology ' 
of  the  Celestine  Fathers,  nor  ignorant  of  scholastics,  of  poetics, 
of  music,  nor  even  of  hermetics  nor  alchemy — that  subtlety 
of  subtleties.  Then,  I  am  the  author  of  the  Mystery  repre- 
sented with  great  triumph  and  concourse  of  the  people,  filling 
the  great  Hall  of  the  Palais  de  Justice.  Moreover,  I  have 
written  a  book  running  to  six  hundred  pages  on  the  pro- 
digious comet  of  1465,  over  which  a  man  lost  his  reason. 
Other  successes,  too,  I  have  had.  Being  somewhat  of  an 
artillery  carpenter,  I  helped  in  the  construction  of  that- great 
bombard  of  Jean  Maugue,  which,  as  you  know,  burst  on  the 
Charenton  bridge  the  first  time  it  was  tried  and  killed,  four- 
and-twenty  of  the  spectators.     So,  you  see,  I  am  not  such 

lOI 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

a  bad  match.  I  know  many  very  pleasing  tricks  which  I 
would  teach  your  goat ;  for  instance,  to  imitate  the  Bishop 
of  Paris,  that  accursed  Pharisee  whose  mill-wheels  splash  the 
passengers  the  whole  length  of  the  Pont-aux-Meuniers.  And 
then  my  Mystery  play  will  bring  me  in  a  great  deal  of  money, 
if  only  they  pay  me.  In  short,  I  am  wholly  at  your  service 
— myself,  my  wit,  my  science,  and  my  learning;  ready,  dam- 
oselle,  to  live  with  you  as  it  shall  please  you — in  chastity 
or  pleasure — as  man  and  wife,  if  so  you  think  good — as 
brother  and  sister,  if  it  please  you  better." 

Gringoire  stopped,  waiting  for  the  effect  of  his  long  speech 
on  the  girl.     Her  eyes  w-ere  fixed  on  the  ground. 

"  Phcebus,"  she  murmured.  Then,  turning  to  the  poet, 
"  Phoebus,  what  does  that  mean  ?  " 

Gringoire,  though  not  exactly  seeing  the  connection  be- 
tween his  harangue  and  this  question,  was  nothing  loath  to 
exhibit  his  erudition.  Bridling  with  conscious  pride,  he 
answered :  "  It  is  a  Latin  word  meaning  '  the  sun.' " 

"  The  sun  !  "  she  exclaimed. 

"  And  the  name  of  a  certain  handsome  archer,  who  was 
a  god,"  added  Gringoire. 

"  A  god ! "  repeated  the  gipsy  with  something  pensive 
and  passionate  in  her  tone. 

At  that  moment  one  of  her  bracelets  became  unfastened 
and  slipped  to  the  ground.  Gringoire  bent  quickly  to  pick 
it  up ;  when  he  rose  the  girl  and  her  goat  had  disappeared. 
He  only  heard  the  sound  of  a  bolt  being  shot  Av-hich  came 
from  a  little  door  leading,  doubtless,  into  an  inner  room. 

"  Has  she,  at  least,  left  me  a  bed  ? "  inquired  our  phi- 
losopher. 

He  made  the  tour  of  the  chamber.  He  found  no  piece  of 
furniture  suitable  for  slumber  but  a  long  wooden  chest,  and  its 
lid  was  profusely  carved,  so  that  when  Gringoire  lay  down  upon 
it  he  felt  very  much  as  Micromegas  must  have  done  when 
he  stretched  himself  at  full  length  to  slumber  on  the  Alps. 

"  Well,"  he  said,  accommodating  himself  as  best  he  might 
to  the  inequalities  of  his  couch,  "  one  must  make  the  best  of 
it.  But  this  is  indeed  a  strange  wedding-night.  'Tis  a  pity, 
too ;  there  was  something  guileless  and  antediluvian  about 
that  marriage  by  broken  pitcher  that  took  my  fancy." 

1 02 


BOOK    III 


NOTRE-DAME 

Assuredly  the  Cathedral  of  Notre-Dame  at  Paris  is,  to 
this  day,  a  majestic  and  sublime  edifice.  But  noble  as  it 
has  remained  while  growing  old,  one  cannot  but  regret,  can- 
not but  feel  indignant  at  the  innumerable  degradations  and 
mutilations  inflicted  on  the  venerable  pile,  both  by  the  action 
of  time  and  the  hand  of  man,  regardless  alike  of  Charlemagne, 
who  laid  the  first  stone,  and  Philip  Augustus,  who  laid 
the  last. 

On  the  face  of  this  ancient  queen  of  our  cathedrals, 
beside  each  wrinkle  one  invariably  finds  a  scar.  "  Tcmpiis 
edax,  homo  edacior,"  which  I  would  be  inclined  to  translate: 
"  Time  is  blind,  but  man  is  senseless." 

Had  we,  with  the  reader,  the  leisure  to  examine,  one  by 
one,  the  traces  of  the  destruction  wrought  on  this  ancient 
church,  we  should  have  to  impute  the  smallest  share  to  Time, 
the  largest  to  men,  and  more  especially  to  those  whom  we 
must  perforce  call  artists,  since,  during  the  last  two  cen- 
turies, there  have  been  individuals  among  them  who  assumed 
the  title  of  architect. 

And  first  of  all,  to  cite  only  a  few  prominent  examples, 
there  are  surely  few  such  wonderful  pages  in  the  book  of 
Architecture  as  the  fagades  of  the  Cathedral.  Here  unfold 
themselves  to  the  eye,  successively  and  at  one  glance,  the  three 
deep  Gothic  doorways;  the  richly  traced  and  sculptured  band 
of  twenty-eight  royal  niches ;  the  immense  central  rose-win- 
dow, flanked  by  its  two  lateral  windows,  like  a  priest  by  the 
deacon  and  subdeacon;  the  lofty  and  fragile  gallery  of  trifoli- 

103 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

aled  arches  supporting  a  heavy  platform  on  its  slender  col- 
umns ;  finally,  the  two  dark  and  massive  towers  with  their 
projecting  slate  roofs — harmonious  parts  of  one  magnificent 
whole,  rising  one  above  another  in  five  gigantic  storeys,  massed 
yet  unconfused,  their  innumerable  details  of  statuary,  sculp- 
ture, and  carving  boldly  allied  to  the  impassive  grandeur  of 
the  whole.  A  vast  symphony  in  stone,  as  it  were ;  the  colossal 
achievement  of  a  man  and  a  nation — one  and  yet  complex — 
like  the  Iliades  and  the  Romances  to  which  it  is  sister — pro- 
digious result  of  the  union  of  all  the  resources  of  an  epoch, 
where  on  every  stone  is  displayed  in  a  hundred  variations 
the  fancy  of  the  craftsman  controlled  by  the  genius  of  the 
artist ;  in  a  word,  a  sort  of  human  Creation,  mighty  and 
prolific,  like  the  divine  Creation,  of  which  it  seems  to  have 
caught  the  double  characteristics — variety   and   eternity. 

And  what  we  say  here  of  the  fagade  applies  to  the  en- 
tire church ;  and  what  we  say  of  the  Cathedral  of  Paris 
may  be  said  of  all  the  ministers  of  Christendom  in  the  Middle 
Ages. 

Everything  stands  in  its  proper  relation  in  that  self-evolved 
art,  is  logical,  well-proportioned.  By  measuring  one  toe  you 
can  estimate  the  height  of  the  giant. 

To  return  to  the  fagade  of  Notre-Dame,  as  we  see  it 
to-day,  when  w^e  stand  lost  in  pious  admiration  of  the  mighty 
and  awe-inspiring  Cathedral,  which,  according  to  the  chron- 
iclers, strikes  the  beholder  with  terror — qiice  mole  sua  terrorem 
incntit  spectantibus. 

Three  important  things  are  now  missing  in  that  fagade : 
the  flight  of  eleven  steps  which  raised  it  above  the  level  of 
the  ground ;  the  lower  row  of  statues  occupying  the  niches  of 
the  three  doorways ;  and  the  upper  series  of  twenty-eight, 
w'hich  filled  the  gallery  of  the  first  story  and  represented  the 
earliest  Kings  of  France,  from  Childebert  to  Philip  Augustus, 
each  holding  in  his  hand  the  "  imperial  orb." 

The  disappearance  of  the  steps  is  due  to  Time,  which  by 
slow  and  irresistible  degrees  has  raised  the  level  of  the  soil 
of  the  city.  But  Time,  though  permitting  these  eleven  steps, 
which  added  to  the  stately  elevation  of  the  pile,  to  be  swal- 
lowed by  the  rising  tide  of  the  Paris  pavement,  has  given  to 
the  Cathedral  more  perhaps  than  he  took  away;  for  it  was 

104 


Notre-Dame 

the  hand  of  Time  that  steeped  its  facade  in  those  rich  and 
sombre  tints  by  which  the  old  age  of  monuments  becomes 
their  period  of  beauty. 

But  who  has  overthrown  the  two  rows  of  statues?  Who 
has  left  the  niches  empty?  Who  has  scooped  out,  in  the 
very  middle  of  the  central  door,  that  new  and  bastard-pointed 
arch?  Who  has  dared  to  hang  in  it,  cheek  by  jowl  with 
Biscornette's  arabesques,  that  tasteless  and  clumsy  wooden 
door  with  Louis  XV  carvings?  Man — the  architects — the 
artists  of  our  own  day  ! 

And,  if  we  enter  the  interior  of  the  edifice,  who  has  over- 
thrown the  colossal  St.  Christopher,  proverbial  among  statues 
as  the  Grande  Salle  of  the  Palais  among  Halls,  as  the  spire 
of  Strasbourg  Cathedral  among  steeples?  And  the  countless 
figures — kneeling,  standing,  equestrian,  men,  women,  chil- 
dren, kings,  bishops,  knights,  of  stone,  marble,  gold,  silver, 
brass,  even  w'ax — which  peopled  all  the  spaces  between  the 
columns  of  the  nave  and  the  choir — what  brutal  hand  has 
swept  them  away?     Not  that  of  Time. 

And  who  replaced  the  ancient  Gothic  altar,  splendidly 
charged  with  shrines  and  reliquaries,  by  that  ponderous  mar- 
ble sarcophagus  with  its  stone  clouds  and  cherubs'  heads, 
which  looks  like  an  odd  piece  out  of  the  Val  de  Grace  or  of 
the  Invahdes?  And  who  was  so  besotted  as  to  fix  this 
lumbering  stone  anachronism  into  the  Carlovingian  pavement 
of  Hercandus?  Was  it  not  Louis  XIV,  in  fulfilment  of  the 
vow  of  Louis  XIII  ? 

And  who  put  cold  white  glass  in  the  place  of  those 
"  richly  coloured "  panes  which  caused  the  dazzled  eyes  of 
our  forefathers  to  wander  undecided  from  the  rose-window 
over  the  great  doorway  to  the  pointed  ones  of  the  chancel 
and  back  again?  And  what  would  a  priest  of  the  six- 
teenth century  say  to  the  fine  yellow  wash  with  w-hich  the 
vandal  Archbishops  have  smeared  the  walls  of  their  Cathe- 
dral? He  would  recollect  that  this  was  the  colour  the  hang- 
man painted  over  houses  of  evil-fame ;  he  would  recall  the 
Hotel  de  Petit-Bourbon  plastered  all  over  with  yellow  because 
of  the  treason  of  its  owner,  the  Connetable — "  a  yellow  of 
so  permanent  a  dye,"  says  Sauval,  "  and  so  well  laid  on,  that 
the  passage  of  more  than  a  century  has  not  succeeded  in 

105 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

dimming  its  colour."  He  would  think  that  the  Holy  Place 
had  become  infamous  and  would  flee  from  it. 

And  if  we  ascend  the  Cathedral,  passing  over  a  thousand 
barbarisms  of  every  description — what  has  become  of  the 
charming  little  belfry,  fretted,  slender,  pointed,  sonorous, 
which  rose  from  the  point  of  intersection  of  the  transept,  and 
every  whit  as  delicate  and  as  bold  as  its  neighbour  the  spire 
(likewise  destroyed)  of  the  Sainte-Chapelle,  soared  into  the 
blue,  farther  even  than  the  towers.  An  architect  "  of  taste  " 
(1787)  had  it  amputated,  and  deemed  it  sufftcient  reparation 
to  hide  the  wound  under  the  great  lead  plaster  which  looks 
like  the  lid  of  a  sauce-pan. 

Thus  has  the  marvellous  art  of  the  Middle  Ages  been 
treated  in  almost  ever}^  country,  but  especially  in  France.  In 
its  ruin  three  distinct  factors  can  be  traced,  causing  wounds 
of  varying  depths.  First  of  all.  Time,  which  has  gradually 
made  breaches  here  and  there  and  gnawed  its  whole  surface ; 
next,  religious  and  political  revolutions,  which,  in  the  blind 
fury  natural  to  them,  wreaked  their  tempestuous  passions 
upon  it,  rent  its  rich  garment  of  sculpture  and  carving,  burst 
in  its  rose-windows,  broke  its  necklets  of  arabesques  and 
figurines,  tore  down  its  statues,  one  time  for  their  mitres, 
another  time  for  their  crowns ;  and  finally,  the  various  fash- 
ions, growing  ever  more  grotesque  and  senseless,  which, 
from  the  anarchical  yet  splendid  deviations  of  the  Re- 
naissance onwards,  have  succeeded  one  another  in  the  inevita- 
ble decadence  of  Architecture.  Fashion  has  committed  more 
crimes  than  revolution.  It  has  cut  to  the  quick,  it  has 
attacked  the  very  bone  and  framework  of  the  art ;  has  man- 
gled, pared,  dislocated,  destroyed  the  edifice — in  its  form  as 
in  its  symbolism,  in  its  coherence  as  in  its  beauty.  This 
achieved,  it  set  about  renewing — a  thing  which  Time  and 
Revolution,  at  least,  never  had  the  presumption  to  do.  With 
unblushing  effrontery,  "  in  the  interests  of  good  taste,"  it 
has  plastered  over  the  wounds  of  Gothic  architecture  with 
its  trumpery  knick-knacks,  its  marble  ribbons  and  knots,  its 
metal  rosettes — a  perfect  eruption  of  ovolos,  scrolls,  and  scal- 
lops; of  draperies,  garlands,  fringes;  of  marble  flames  and 
brazen  clouds ;  of  blowzy  cupids  and  inflated  cherubs,  which 
began  by  devouring  the  face  of  art  in  the  oratory  of  Cath- 

106 


Notre-Dame 

erine  de  Medicis,  and  ended  by  causing  it  to  expire,  tortured 
and  grimacing,  two  centuries  later,  in  the  boudoir  of  Mme. 
Dubarry. 

Thus,  to  sum  up  the  points  we  have  just  discussed,  the^ 
ravages  that  now  disfigure  Gothic  architecture  are  of  three 
distinct  kinds :  furrows  and  blotches  wrought  by  the  hand 
of  Time  ;  practical  violence — brutalities,  bruises,  fractures — • 
the  outcome  of  '  'olution,  from  Luther  down  to  Mirabeau ; 
mutilations,  amp  .  .tions,  dislocation  of  members,  restora- 
tions, the  result  of  the  labours — Greek,  Roman,  and  bar- 
barian— of  the  professors  following  out  the  rules  of  Vitruvius 
and  Vignola.  That  magnificent  art  which  the  Goths  created 
has  been  murdered  by  the  Academies. 

To  the  devastations  of  Time  and  of  Revolutions — carried 
out  at  least  with  impartiality  and  grandeur — have  been  added 
those  of  a  swarm  of  school-trained  architects,  duly  licensed 
and  incorporated,  degrading  their  art  deliberately  and,  with 
all  the  discernment  of  bad  taste,  substituting  the  Louis  XV 
fussiness  for  Gothic  simplicity,  and  all  to  the  greater  glory 
of  the  Parthenon.  This  is  the  kick  of  the  ass  to  the  dying 
lion ;  it  is  the  ancient  oak,  dead  already  above,  gnawed  at  the 
roots  by  worms  and  vermin. 

How  remote  is  this  from  the  time  when  Robert  Cenalis, 
comparing  Notre-Dame  at  Paris  with  the  far-famed  Temple 
of  Diana  at  Ephesus,  "  so  much  vaunted  by  the  ancient 
pagans,"  which  immortalized  Erostratus,  considered  the  Gal- 
ilean Cathedral  "  more  excellent  in  length,  breadth,  height, 
and  structure."  * 

For  the  rest,  Notre-Dame  cannot,  from  the  architectural 
point  of  view,  be  called  complete,  definite,  classified.  It  is 
not  a  Roman  church,  neither  is  it  a  Gothic  church.  It  is  not 
typical  of  any  style  of  architecture,  Notre-Dame  has  not, 
like  the  Abbey  of  Tournus,  the  grave  and  massive  squareness, 
the  round,  wide,  vaulted  roof,  the  frigid  nudity,  the  majestic 
simplicity  of  the  edifices  which  have  their  origin  in  the  Roman 
arch.  Nor  is  it  like  the  Cathedral  of  Bourges,  the  splendid, 
airy,  multiform,  foliated,  pinnacled,  effiorescent  product  of  the 
Gothic  arch.     Impossible,  either,  to  rank  it  among  that  an- 


*  Hisioire  Gallicane,  Book  ii,  period  ii,  fol.  130,  p.  4. — Author's  note. 

107  / 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

tique  family  of  churches — sombre,  mysterious,  low-pitched, 
cowering,  as  it  were,  under  the  weight  of  the  round  arch ;  half 
Egyptian,  wholly  hieroglyphical,  wholly  sacerdotal,  wholly 
symbolical ;  as  regards  ornament,  rather  overloaded  with 
lozenges  and  zigzags  than  with  flowers,  with  flowers  than 
animals,  with  animals  than  human  figures ;  less  the  work  of 
the  architect  than  the  Bishop,  the  first  transformation  of  the 
art  still  deeply  imbued  with  theocratic  and  military  discipline, 
having  its  root  in  the  Byzantine  Empire,  and  stopping  short 
at  William  the  Conqueror.  Nor,  again,  can  the  Cathedral 
be  ranked  with  tliat  other  order  of  lofty,  aerial  churches,  with 
their  wealth  of  painted  windows  and  sculptured  work,  with 
their  sharp  pinnacles  and  bold  outlines ;  communal  and  citizen 
— regarded  as  political  symbols ;  free,  capricious,  untram- 
melled— regarded  as  works  of  art.  This  is  the  second  trans- 
formation of  architecture — no  longer  cryptic,  sacerdotal,  inev- 
itable, but  artistic,  progressive,  popular — beginning  with  the 
return  from  the  Crusades  and  ending  with  Louis  XL 

Notre-Dame  is  neither  pure  Roman,  like  the  first,  nor  pure 
Gothic,  like  the  second ;  it  is  an  edifice  of  the  transition 
period.  The  Saxon  architect  had  just  finished  erecting  the 
first  pillars  of  the  nave  when  the  pointed  arch,  brought  back 
by  the  Crusaders,  arrived  and  planted  itself  victorious  on  the 
broad  Roman  capitals  which  were  intended  only  to  support 
round  arches.  Master,  henceforth,  of  the  situation,  the  pointed 
arch  determined  the  construction  of  the  rest  of  the  building. 
Inexperienced  and  timid  at  its  commencement,  it  remains 
wide  and  low,  restraining  itself,  as  it  were,  not  daring  to  soar 
up  into  the  arrows  and  lancets  of  the  marvellous  cathedrals 
of  the  later  period.  It  would  almost  seem  that  it  was  affected 
by  the  proximity  of  the  heavy  Roman  pillars. 

Not  that  these  edifices  showing  the  transition  from  Roman 
to  Gothic  are  less  worthy  of  study  than  the  pure  models. 
They  express  a  gradation  of  the  art  which  would  ©Ise  be 
lost.  It  is  the  grafting  of  the  pointed  arch  on  to  the  cir- 
cular arch. 

Notre-Dame  de  Paris,  in  particular,  is  a  curious  specimen 
of  this  variety.  Every  surface,  every  stone  of  this  venerable 
pile,  is  a  page  of  the  history  not  only  of  the  country,  but 
of  science  and  of  art.     Thus — to  mention  here  only  a  few 

io8 


Notre-Dame 

of  the  chief  details — whereas  the  small  Porte  Rouge  almost 
touches  the  limits  of  fifteenth  century  Gothic  delicacy,  the 
pillars  of  the  nave,  by  their  massiveness  and  great  girth, 
reach  back  to  the  Carlovingian  Abbey  of  Saint-Germain-des- 
Pres.  One  would  imagine  that  six  centuries  lay  between 
that  door  and  those  pillars.  Not  even  the  Hermetics  fail 
to  find  in  the  symbols  of  the  grand  doorway  a  satisfactory 
compendium  of  their  science,  of  which  the  Church  of  Saint- 
Jacques-de-la-Boucherie  was  so  complete  a  hieroglyph.  Thus 
the  Roman  Abbey — the  Church  of  the  Mystics — Gothic  art 
— Saxon  art — the  ponderous  round  pillar  reminiscent  of 
Gregory  VII,  the  alchemistic  symbolism  by  which  Nicolas 
Flamel  paved  the  way  for  Luther — papal  unity — schism — 
Saint-Germain-des-Pres  —  Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie — all 
are  blended,  combined,  amalgamated  in  Notre-Dame.  This 
generative  Mother-Church  is,  among  the  other  ancient 
churches  of  Paris,  a  sort  of  Chimera :  she  has  the  head  of  one, 
the  limbs  of  another,  the  body  of  a  third — something  of  all. 

These  hybrid  edifices  are,  we  repeat,  by  no  means  the 
least  interesting  to  the  artist,  the  antiquary,  and  the  historian. 
They  let  us  realize  to  how  great  a  degree  architecture  is 
a  primitive  matter,  in  that  they  demonstrate,  as  do  the 
Cyclopean  remains,  the  Pyramids  of  Egypt,  the  gigantic 
Hindu  pagodas,  that  the  greatest  productions  of  architecture 
are  not  so  much  the  work  of  individuals  as  of  a  community ; 
are  rather  the  offspring  of  a  nation's  labour  than  the  out- 
come of  individual  genius ;  the  deposit  of  a  whole  people ; 
the  heaped-up  treasure  of  centuries ;  the  residuum  left  by  the 
successive  evaporations  of  human  society ;  in  a  word,  a  spe- 
cies of  formations.  Each  wave  of  time  leaves  its  coating  of 
alluvium,  each  race  deposits  its  layer  on  the  monuments,  each 
individual  contributes  his  stone  to  it.  Thus  do  the  beavers 
work,  thus  the  bees,  thus  man.  Babel,  that  great  symbol 
of  architecture,  is  a  bes-hive. 

Great  edifice?,  like  the  great  mountains,  are  the  work  of 
ages.  Often  art  undergoes  a  transformation  while  they  are 
waiting  pending  completion — pendent  opera  interrupfa — they 
then  proceed  imperturbably  in  conformity  with  the  new  order 
of  things.  The  new  art  takes  possession  of  the  monument 
at  the  point  at  which  it  finds  it,  absorbs  itself  into  it,  de- 

109 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

velops  it  after  its  own  idea,  and  completes  it  if  it  can.  The 
matter  is  accomplished  without  disturbance,  without  effort, 
without  reaction,  in  obedience  to  an  undeviating,  peaceful 
law  of  nature — a  shoot  is  grafted  on,  the  sap  circulates,  a 
fresh  vegetation  is  in  progress.  Truly,  there  is  matter  for 
mighty  volumes ;  often,  indeed,  for  a  universal  history  of 
mankind,  in  these  successive  layers  of  different  periods  of 
art,  on  different  levels  of  the  same  edifice.  The  man,  the 
artist,  the  individual,  are  lost  sight  of  in  these  massive  piles 
that  have  no  record  of  authorship ;  they  are  an  epitome,  a 
totalization  of  human  intelligence.  Time  is  the  architect — 
a  nation  is  the  builder. 

Reviewing  here  only  Christo-European  architecture,  that 
younger  sister  of  the  great  Masonic  movements  of  the  East, 
it  presents  the  aspect  of  a  huge  formation  divided  into  three 
sharply  defined  superincumbent  zones :  the  Roman,*  the 
Greek,  and  that  of  the  Renaissance,  which  we  would  prefer  to 
call  the  Greco-Romanesque.  The  Roman  stratum,  the  oldest 
and  the  lowest  of  the  three,  is  occupied  by  the  circular  arch, 
which  reappears,  supported  by  the  Greek  column,  in  the  mod- 
ern and  upper  stratum  of  the  Renaissance.  Between  the  two 
comes  the  pointed  arch.  The  edifices  w^hich  belong  exclu- 
sively to  one  or  other  of  these  three  strata  are  perfectly  dis- 
tinct, uniform,  and  complete  in  themselves.  The  Abbey  of 
Jumieges  is  one,  the  Cathedral  of  Reims  another,  the  Sainte- 
Croix  of  Orleans  is  a  third.  But  the  three  zones  mingle 
and  overlap  one  another  at  the  edges,  like  the  colours  of 
the  solar  spectrum ;  hence  these  complex  buildings,  these 
edifices  of  the  gradational,  transitional  period.  One  of  them 
will  be  Roman  as  to  its  feet,  Greek  as  to  its  body,  and  Greco- 
Romanesque  as  to  its  head.  That  happens  when  it  has  taken 
six  hundred  years  in  the  building.  But  that  variety  is  rare : 
the  castle-keep  of  Etampes  is  a  specimen.  Edifices  of  two 
styles  are  more  frequent.  Such  is  Notre-Dame  of  Paris,  a 
Gothic  structure,  rooted  by  its  earliest  pillars  in  that  Roman 

*  This  is  also  known,  according  to  situation,  race,  or  style,  as  Lom- 
bard, Saxon,  or  Byzantine  :  four  sister  and  parallel  architectures,  each 
having  its  own  peculiar  characteristics,  but  all  deriving  from  the  same 
principle — the  circular  arch.  Fades  non  omnibus  una,  non  diver sa  tamen, 
quakm,  etc. — Author's  note. 

IIO 


Notre-Dame 

zone  in  which  the  portal  of  Saint-Denis  and  the  nave  of  Saint- 
Germain-des-Pres'  are  eatirely  sunk.  Such  again  is  the  semi- 
Gothic  Chapter  Hall  of  Bocherville,  in  which  the  Roman 
layer  reaches  half-way  up.  Such  is  the  Cathedral  at  Rouen, 
which  would  be  wholly  Gothic  had  not  the  point  of  its  central 
spire  reached  up  into  the  Renaissance.* 

For  the  rest,  all  these  gradations,  these  differences,  do  but 
affect  the  surface  of  the  building.  Art  has  changed  its  skin, 
but  the  actual  conformation  of  the  Christian  Church  has 
remained  untouched.  It  has  ever  the  same  internal  structure, 
the  same  logical  disposition  of  the  parts.  Be  the  sculptured 
and  decorated  envelope  of  a  cathedral  as  it  will,  underneath, 
at  least,  as  germ  or  rudiment,  we  invariably  find  the  Roman 
basilica.  It  develops  itself  unswervingly  on  this  foundation 
and  following  the  same  rules.  There  are  invariably  two  naves 
crossing  each  other  at  right  angles,  the  upper  end  of  which, 
rounded  off  in  a  half  circle,  forms  the  choir ;  there  are  always 
two  lower-pitched  side-aisles  for  the  processions — the  chapels 
— sort  of  lateral  passages  communicating  with  the  nave  by  its 
intercolumnar  spaces.  These  conditions  once  fulfilled,  the 
number  of  chapels,  doorways,  steeples,  spires,  may  be  varied 
to  infinity,  according  to  the  fancy  of  the  age,  the  nation,  or 
the  art.  The  proper  observances  of  worship  once  provided 
for  and  insured,  architecture  is  free  to  do  as  she  pleases. 
Statues,  stained  glass,  rose-windows,  arabesques,  flutings,  capi- 
tals, bas-reliefs — all  these  flowers  of  fancy  she  distributes  as 
best  suits  her  particular  scheme  of  the  moment.  Hence  the 
prodigious  variety  in  the  exterior  of  these  edifices,  in  the 
underlying  structure  of  which  there  rules  so  much  order  and 
uniformity.  The  trunk  of  the  tree  is  unchanging ;  its  vege- 
tation only  is  variable. 

*  This  part  of  the  spire,  which  was  of  timber,  was  destroyed  by  light< 
ning  in  1823. — Author's  note. 


Ill  Vol.  4 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 


II 

A    bird's-eye    view    of    PARIS 

We  have  endeavoured  to  restore  for  the  reader  this 
admirable  Cathedral  of  Notre-Dame.  We  have  briefly  enu- 
merated most  of  the  beauties  it  possessed  in  the  fifteenth 
century,  though  lost  to  it  now ;  but  we  have  omitted  the 
chief  one — the  view  of  Paris  as  it  then  appeared  from  the 
summits  of  the  towers. 

When,  after  long  gropings  up  the  dark  perpendicular 
stair-case  which  pierces  the  thick  walls  of  the  steeple  towers, 
one  emerged  at  last  unexpectedly  on  to  one  of  the  two  high 
platforms  inundated  with  light  and  air,  it  was  in  truth  a 
marvellous  picture  spread  out  before  you  on  every  side ;  a 
spectacle  sui  generis  of  which  those  of  our  readers  can  best 
form  an  idea  who  have  had  the  good  fortune  to  see  a  purely 
Gothic  city,  complete  and  homogeneous,  of  which  there  are 
still  a  few  remaining,  such  as  Nuremberg  in  Bavaria,  Vittoria 
in  Spain,  or  even  smaller  specimens,  provided  they  are  well- 
preserved,  like  Vitre  in  Brittany  and  Nordhausen  in  Prussia. 

The  Paris  of  that  day,  the  Paris  of  the  fifteenth  century, 
was  already  a  giant  city.  We  Parisians  in  general  are  mistaken 
as  to  the  amount  of  ground  we  imagine  we  have  gained 
since  then.  Paris,  since  the  time  of  Louis  XI,  has  not 
increased  by  much  more  than  a  third;  and,  truth  to  tell,  has 
lost  far  more  in  beauty  than  ever  it  has  gained  in  size. 

Paris  first  saw  the  light  on  that  ancient  island  in  the 
Seine,  the  Cite,  which  has,  in  fact,  the  form  of  a  cradle.  The 
strand  of  this  island  was  its  first  enclosure,  the  Seine  its  first 
moat. 

For  several  centuries  Paris  remained  an  island,  with  two 
bridges,  one  north,  the  other  south,  and  two  bridge  heads, 
which  were  at  once  its  gates  and  its  fortresses :  the  Grand- 
Chatelet  on  the  right  bank,  the  Petit-Chatelet  on  the  left. 
Then,  after  the  kings  of -the  first  generation,  Paris,  finding 
itself  too  cramped  on  its  island  home,  where  it  no  longer 
had  room  to  turn  round,  crossed  the  river ;  whereupon,  beyond 
each  of  the  bridge-fortresses,  a  first  circle  of  walls  and  towers 

112 


i 


A  Bird's-Eye  View  of  Paris 

began  to  enclose  pieces  of  the  land  on  either  side  of  the  Seine. 
Of  this  ancient  wall  some  vestiges  were  still  standing  in  the 
last  century ;  to-day,  nothing  is  left  but  the  memory,  and  here 
and  there  a  tradition,  such  as  the  Baudets  or  Baudoyer  Gate 
— porta  bagauda. 

By  degrees  the  flood  of  dwellings,  constantly  pressing 
forward  from  the  heart  of  the  city,  overflows,  saps,  eats  away, 
and  finally  swallows  up  this  enclosure.  Philip  Augustus  makes 
a  fresh  line  of  circumvallation,  and  immures  Paris  within  a 
chain  of  massive  and  lofty  towers.  For  upward  of  a  century 
the  houses  press  upon  one  another,  accumulate,  and  rise  in 
this  basin  like  water  in  a  reservoir.  They  begin  to  burrow 
deeper  in  the  ground,  they  pile  storey  upon  storey,  they  climb 
one  upon  another,  they  shoot  up  in  height  like  all  compressed 
growth,  and  each  strives  to  raise  its  head  above  its  neighbour 
for  a  breath  of  air.  The  streets  grow  ever  deeper  and  nar- 
rower, every  open  space  fills  up  and  disappears,  till,  finally,  the 
houses  overleap  the  wall  of  Philip  Augustus,  and  spread  them- 
selves joyfully  over  the  country  like  escaped  prisoners,  with- 
out plan  or  system,  gathering  themselves  together  in  knots, 
cutting  slices  out  of  the  surrounding  fields  for  gardens,  taking 
plenty  of  elbow-room. 

By  1367,  the  town  has  made  such  inroads  on  the  suburb 
that  a  new  enclosure  has  become  necessary,  especially  on  the 
right  bank,  and  is  accordingly  built  by  Charles  V.  But  a 
town  like  Paris  is  in  a  state  of  perpetual  growth — it  is  only 
such  cities  that  become  capitals.  They  are  the  reservoirs  into 
which  are  directed  all  the  streams — geographical,  political, 
moral,  intellectual — of  a  country,  all  the  natural  tendencies 
of  the  people ;  wells  of  civilization,  so  to  speak — but  also  out- 
lets— where  commerce,  manufacture,  intelligence,  population, 
all  that  there  is  of  vital  fluid,  of  life,  of  soul,  in  a  people, 
filters  through  and  collects  incessantly,  drop  by  drop,  century 
by  century.  The  wall  of  Charles  V,  however,  endures  the 
same  fate  as  that  of  Philip  Augustus.  By  the  beginning  ol 
the  fifteenth  century  it,  too,  is  overstepped,  left  behind,  the 
new  suburb  hurries  on,  and  in  the  sixteenth  century  it  seems 
visibly  to  recede  farther  and  farther  into  the  depths  of  the 
old  city,  so  dense  has  the  new  town  become  outside  it. 

Thus,  by  the  fifteenth  century — to  go  no  farther — Paris 

113 


Notre- Dame  de  Paris 

had  already  consumed  the  three  concentric  circles  of  wall, 
which,  in  the  time  of  Julian  the  Apostate,  were  in  embryo, 
so  to  speak,  in  the  Grand-Chatelet  and  the  Petit-Chatelet. 
The  mighty  city  had  successively  burst  its  four  girdles  of 
wall  like  a  child  grown  out  of  last  year's  garments.  Under 
Louis  XI,  clusters  of  ruined  towers  belonging  to  the  old 
fortified  walls  were  still  visible,  rising  out  of  the  sea  of  houses 
like  hilltops  out  of  an  inundation — the  archipelagoes  of  the 
old  Paris,  submerged  beneath  the  new. 

Since  then,  unfortunately  for  us,  Paris  has  changed  again ; 
but  it  has  broken  through  one  more  enclosure,  that  of  Louis 
XV,  a  wretched  wall  of  mud  and  rubbish,  well  worthy  of  the 
King  who  built  it  and  of  the  poet  who  sang  of  it : 

"  Le  mur  murant  Paris  rend  Paris  murmurant."  * 

In  the  fifteenth  century  Paris  was  still  divided  into  three 
towns,  perfectly  distinct  and  separate,  having  each  its  peculiar 
features,  speciality,  manners,  customs,  privileges,  and  history : 
the  City,  the  University,  the  Town.  The  City,  which  occu- 
pied the  island,  was  the  oldest  and  the  smallest  of  the  trio — 
the  mother  of  the  other  two — looking,  if  we  may  be  allowed 
the  comparison,  like  a  little  old  woman  between  two  tall  and 
blooming  daughters.  The  University  covered  the  left  bank 
of  the  Seine  from  the  Tournelle  to  the  Tour  de  Nesle — points 
corresponding  in  the  Paris  of  to-day  to  the  Halles-aux-Vins 
and  the  Mint,  its  circular  wall  taking  in  a  pretty  large  portion 
of  that  ground  on  which  Julian  had  built  his  baths. f  It  also 
included  the  Hill  of  Sainte-Genevieve.  The  outermost  point  of 
the  curving  wall  was  the  Papal  Gate ;  that  is  to  say,  just 
about  the  site  of  the  Pantheon.  The  Town,  the  largest  of 
the  three  divisions  of  Paris,  occupied  the  right  bank.  Its 
quay,  interrupted  at  several  points,  stretched  along  the  Seine 
from  the  Tour  de  Billy  to  the  Tour  du  Bois ;  that  is,  from 
the  spot  where  the  Grenier  d'Abondance  now  stands  to  that 
occupied  by  the  Tuileries.  These  four  points  at  which  the 
Seine  cut  through  the  circumference  of  the  capital — la  Tour- 

*  This  might  be  freely  translated  :  The  dam  damming  Paris,  sets  Paris 
damning. 

f  Portions  of  these  Roman  baths  still  exist  in  the  Hotel  de  Cluny. 

114 


A  Bird's-Eye  View  of  Paris 

nelU^^^.   '  3"ci  the  Tour  de  Nesle  on  the  left,  the  Tour  de  Billy  and 

the  :^^^  ^^our  de  Bois  on  the  right  bank — were  called  par  excellence 

"  th  "^  ^^   four  towers  of  Paris."     The   Town   encroached   more 

ieej    ^^^  3^y  i^to  the  surrounding  country  than  did  the  University. 

\q    T?i*"  farthest  point  of  its   enclosing  wall   (the   one   built   by 

Charles  V)  was  at  the  gates  of  Saint-Denis  and  Saint-Martin, 

the  situation  of  which  has  not  changed. 

As  we  have  already  stated,  each  of  these  three  great  divi- 
sions of  Paris  was  a  town — but  a  town  too  specialized  to  be 
complete,  a  town  which  could  not  dispense  with  the  other 
two.  So,  too,  each  had  its  peculiarly  characteristic  aspect. 
In  the  City,  churches  were  the  prevailing  feature ;  in  the  Town, 
palaces;  in  the  University,  colleges.  Setting  aside  the  less 
important  originalities  of  Paris  and  the  capricious  legal  intri- 
cacies of  the  right  of  way,  and  taking  note  only  of  the  col- 
lective and  important  masses  in  the  chaos  of  communal 
jurisdictions,  we  may  say  that,  broadly  speaking,  the  island 
belonged  to  the  Bishop,  the  right  bank  to  the  Provost  of 
the  Merchants'  Guild,  and  the  left  bank  to  the  Rector  of  the 
University.  The  Provost_of  Paris— a_royal,  not  a  municipal... 
office — had  aufhqrity  over  all.  The  City  boasted  Notre- 
Dame'^Th'e'Town,  the  Louvre  and  the  H6tel-de-Ville ;  the 
University,  the  Sorbonne.  Again,  the  Town  had  the  Halles, 
the  City  the  Hotel-Dieu,  the  University  the  Pre-aux-Clercs.* 
Crimes  committed  by  the  students  on  the  right  bank,  were 
tried  on  the  island  in  the  Palais  de  Justice,  and  punished  on 
the  right  bank  at  Montfaucon,  unless  the  Rector,  feeling  the 
University  to  be  strong  and  the  King  weak,  thought  fit  to 
intervene ;  for  the  scholars  enjoyed  the  privilege  of  being 
hanged  on  their  own  premises. 

•  Most  of  these  privileges  (we  may  remark  in  passing),  and 
there  were  some  of  even  greater  value  than  this,  had  been 
extorted  from  the  kings  by  mutiny  and  revolts.  It  is  the 
immemorial  course :  Le  roi  ne  lache  que  qnand  le  pcuple  ar- 
rache — the  King  only  gives  up  what  the  people  wrest  from 
him.  There  is  an  old  French  charter  which  defines  this  pop- 
ular loyalty  with  great  simplicity :  Civibus  Udelitas  in  reges, 

*  The  recreation  and  fighting  ground  of  the  students,  the  present  Fau- 
bourg Saint-Germain. 

"5 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris  I 

qitoc  tamcn  aliquoties  scditionibus  interrupta,  multa  pepcrit  priv- 
ilcgia.*  I 

In  the  fifteenth  century  the  Seine  embraced  five  islands 
within  the  purHcus  of  Paris:  the  Louvre,^  on  which  trees 
then  grew ;  the  Ile-aux-Vaches  and  the  lie  Notre-Dame, 
both  uninhabited  except  for  one  poor  hovel,  both  fiefs  of  the 
Bishop  (in  the  seventeenth  century  these  two  islands  were 
made  into  one  and  built  upon,  now  known  as  the  lie  Saint- 
Louis)  ;  finally  the  City,  having  at  its  western  extremity  the 
islet  of  the  Passeur-aux-Vaches — the  cattle  ferry — now  buried 
under  the  foundations  of  the  Pont  Neuf.  The  City  had,  in 
those  days,  five  bridges — three  on  the  right :  the  Pont  Notre- 
Dame  and  the  Pont-au-Change  being  of  stone,  and  the  Pont- 
aux-Meuniers  of  wood ;  and  two  on  the  left :  the  Petit-Pont 
of  stone,  and  the  Pont  Saint-Michel  of  wood — all  lined  with 
houses.  The  University  had  six  gates  built  by  Philip  Au- 
gustus, namely — starting  from  the  Tournelle — the  Porte  Saint- 
Victor,  the  Porte  Bordelle,  the  Porte  Papale,  the  Porte  Saint- 
Jacques,  the  Porte  Saint-Michel  and  the  Porte  Saint-Germain. 
The  Town  also  had  six  gates,  built  by  Charles  V,  namely — 
starting  from  the  Tour  de  Billy — the  Porte  Saint-Antoine, 
the  Porte  du  Temple,  the  Porte  Saint-Martin,  the  Porte  Saint- 
Denis,  the  Porte  Montmartre  and  the  Porte  Saint-Honore. 
All  these  gates  were  strong,  and  at  the  same  time  handsome 
— which  is  no  detriment  to  strength.  A  wide  and  deep  fosse, 
filled  during  the  winter  months  with  a  swift  stream  supplied 
by  the  Seine,  washed  the  foot  of  the  w^alls  all  round  Paris.  At 
night  the  gates  were  shut,  the  river  was  barred  at  the  two 
extremities  of  the  town  by  the  massive  iron  chains,  and  Paris 
slept  in  peace. 

From  a  bird's-eye  view,  these  three  great  divisions — the 
City,  the  University,  and  the  Town — presented  each  an  inex- 
tricably tangled  network  of  streets  to  the  eye.  Nevertheless, 
one  recognised  at  a  glance  that  the  three  fragments  formed 
together  a  single  body.  You  at  once  distinguished  two  long, 
parallel  streets  running,  without  a  break  or  deviation,  almost 
in  a  straight  line  through  all  these  towns  from  end  to  end, 

*  Fidelity  to  the  kings,  though  broken  at  times  by  revolts,  procured 
the  burghers  many  privileges. 

ii6 


A  Bird's-Eye  View  of  Paris 

from  south  to  north,  at  right  angles  with  the  Seine ;  con- 
necting, minghng,  transfusing  them,  incessantly  pouring  the 
inhabitants  of  one  into  the  walls  of  the  other,  blending  the 
three  into  one.  One  of  these  two  streets  ran  from  the  Porte 
Saint-Jacques  to  the  Porte  Saint-Martin,  and  was  called  Rue 
Saint-Jacques  in  the  University,  Rue  de  la  Juiverie  (Jewry) 
in  the  City,  and  Rue  Saint-Martin  in  the  Town,  crossing  the 
river  twice,  as  the  Petit-Pont  and  the  Pont  Notre-Dame. 
The  second — which  was  called  Rue  de  la  Harpe  on  the  left 
bank,  Rue  de  la  Barillerie  on  the  island.  Rue  Saint-Denis 
on  the  right  bank,  Pont  Saint-Michel  on  one  arm  of  the 
Seine,  Pont-au-Change  on  the  other — ran  from  the  Porte 
Saint-Michel  in  the  University  to  the  Porte  Saint-Denis  in 
the  Town.  For  the  rest,  under  however  many  names,  they 
were  still  only  the  two  streets,  the  two  thoroughfares,  the 
two  mother-streets,  the  main  arteries  of  Paris,  from  which 
all  the  other  ducts  of  the  triple  city  started,  or  into  which 
they  flowed. 

Independently  of  these  two  principal  streets,  cutting  dia- 
metrically through  the  breadth  of  Paris  and  common  to  the 
entire  capital,  the  Town  and  the  University  had  each  its  own 
main  street  running  in  the  direction  of  their  length,  parallel 
to  the  Seine,  and  intersecting  the  two  "  arterial "  streets  at 
right  angles.  Thus,  in  the  Town  you  descended  in  a  straight 
line  from  the  Porte  Saint-Antoine  to  the  Porte  Saint-Honore ; 
in  the  University,  from  the  Porte  Saint-Victor  to  the  Porte 
Saint-Germain.  These  two  great  thoroughfares,  crossing  the 
two  first  mentioned,  formed  the  frame  on  to  which  was  woven 
the  knotted,  tortuous  network  of  the  streets  of  Paris.  In  the 
inextricable  tangle  of  this  network,  however,  on  closer  inspec- 
tion, two  sheaf-like  clusters  of  streets  could  be  distinguished, 
one  in  the  University,  one  in  the  Town,  spreading  out  from 
the  bridges  to  the  gates.  Something  of  the  same  geometrical 
plan  still  exists. 

Now,  what  aspect  did  this  present  when  viewed  from  the 
top  of  the  towers  of  Notre-Dame  in  1482  ? 

That  is  what  we  will  endeavour  to  describe. 

To  the  spectator,  arrived  breathless  on  this  summit,  the 
first  glance  revealed  only  a  bewildering  jumble  of  roofs, 
chimneys,    streets,    bridges,    squares,    spires,    and    steeples. 

117 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Everything  burst  upon  the  eye  at  once — the  carved  gable,  the 
high,  pointed  roof,  the  turret  cHnging  to  the  corner  wall,  the 
stone  pyramid  of  the  •  eleventh  century,  the  slate  obelisk  of 
the  fifteenth,  the  round,  stark  tower  of  the  donjon-keep,  the 
square  and  elaborately  decorated  tower  of  the  church,  the 
large,  the  small,  the  massive,  the  airy.  The  gaze  was  lost 
for  long  and  completely  in  this  maze,  where  there  was  nothing 
that  had  not  its  own  originality,  its  reason,  its  touch  of  genius, 
its  beauty ;  where  everything  breathed  of  art,  from  the  hum- 
blest house  with  its  painted  and  carved  front,  its  visible  timber 
framework,  its  low-browed  doorway  and  projecting  storeys, 
to  the  kingly  Louvre  itself,  which,  in  those  days,  boasted  a 
colonnade  of  towers.  But  here  are  the  most  important  points 
which  struck  the  eye  when  it  became  somewhat  accustomed 
to  this  throng  of  edifices. 

To  begin  with,  the  City.  "The  island  of  the  City,"  as  Sauval 
observes — who,  with  all  his  pompous  verbosity,  sometimes 
hits  upon  these  happy  turns  of  phrase — "  the  island  of  the  City 
is  shaped  like  a  great  ship  sunk  into  the  mud  and  run  aground 
lengthwise,  about  mid-stream  of  the  Seine."  As  we  have 
already  shown,  in  the  fifteenth  century  this  ship  was  moored 
to  the  two  banks  of  the  Seine  by  five  bridges.  This  likeness 
to  a  ship  had  also  struck  the  fancy  of  the  heraldic  scribes ; 
for,  according  to  Favyn  and  Pasquier,  it  was  from  this  cir- 
cumstance, and  not  from  the  siege  by  the  Normans,  that  is 
derived  the  ship  emblazoned  in  the  arms  of  Paris.  To  him 
who  can  decipher  it,  heraldry  is  an  algebra,  a  complete  lan- 
guage. The  whole  history  of  the  later  half  of  the  Middle 
Ages  is  written  in  heraldry,  as  is  that  of  the  first  half  in  the 
symbolism  of  the  Roman  churches — the  hieroglyphics  of 
feudalism  succeeding  those  of  theocracy. 

The  City,  then,  first  presented  itself  to  the  view,  with  its 
stern  to  the  east  and  its  prow  to  the  west.  Facing  towards 
the  prow  there  stretched  an  endless  line  of  old  roofs,  above 
which  rose,  broad  and  domed,  the  lead-roofed  transept  of  the 
Sainte-Chapelle,  like  an  elephant  with  its  tower,  except  that 
here  the  tower  was  the  boldest,  airiest,  most  elaborate  and 
serrated  spire  that  ever  showed  the  sky  through  its  fretted 
cone.  Just  in  front  of  Notre-Dame  three  streets  opened  into 
the  Cathedral  close — a  fine  square  of  old  houses.     On  the 

Ii8 


A  Bird's-Eye  View  of  Paris 

south  side  of  this  glowered  the  furrowed,  beetling  front  of  the 
Hotel-Dieu,  with  its  roof  as  if  covered  with  boils  and  warts. 
Then,  on  every  side,  right,  left,  east,  and  west,  all  within  the 
narrow  circuit  of  the  City,  rose  the  steeples  of  its  twenty-one 
churches,  of  all  dates,  shapes,  and  sizes,  from  the  low,  worm- 
eaten  Roman  belfry  of  Saint-Denis  du  Pas  (career  Glancini) 
to  the  slender,  tapering  spires  of  Saint-Pierre  aux  Boeufs  and 
Saint-Landry.  Behind  Notre-Dame  northward,  stretched  the 
cloister  with  its  Gothic  galleries ;  southward,  the  semi-Roman 
palace  of  the  Bishop,  and  eastward,  an  uncultivated  piece  of 
ground,  the  terrain,  at  the  point  of  the  island.  Furthermore, 
in  this  sea  of  houses,  the  eye  could  distinguish,  by  the  high, 
perforated  mitres  of  stone  which  at  that  period  capped  even 
its  topmost  attic  windows,  the  palace  presented  by  the  town, 
in  the  reign  of  Charles  VI,  to  Juvenal  des  Ursins;  a  little 
farther  on,  the  black-barred  roofs  of  the  market-shed  in  the 
Marche  Palus ;  farther  ofif  still,  the  new  chancel  of  Saint-Ger- 
main le  Vieux,  lengthened  in  1458  by  taking  in  a  piece  of 
the  Rue  aux  Febves,  with  here  and  there  a  glimpse  of  cause- 
way, crowded  with  people,  some  pillory  at  a  corner  of  the 
street,  some  fine  piece  of  the  pavement  of  Philip  Augustus — 
magnificent  flagging,  furrowed  in  the  middle  for  the  benefit 
of  the  horses,  and  so  badly  replaced  in  the  middle  of  the 
sixteenth  century  by  the  wretched  cobblestones  called  "  pave 
de  la  Ligtie " ;  some  solitary  court-yard  with  one  of  those 
diaphanous  wrought-iron  stair-case  turrets  they  were  so  fond 
of  in  the  fifteenth  century,  one  of  which  is  still  to  be  seen 
in  the  Rue  des  Bourdonnais.  Lastly,  to  the  right  of  the 
Sainte-Chapelle,  westward,  the  Palais  de  Justice  displayed  its 
group  of  towers  by  the  water's  edge.  The  trees  of  the  royal 
gardens,  which  occupied  the  western  point  of  the  island,  hid 
the  ferry-man's  islet  from  view.  As  for  the  water,  it  was 
hardly  visible  on  either  side  of  the  City  from  the  towers  of 
Notre-Dame :  the  Seine  disappeared  under  the  bridges,  and 
the  bridges  under  the  houses. 

And  when  one  looked  beyond  these  bridges,  on  which 
the  house-roofs  glimmered  green — moss-grown  before  their 
time  from  the  mists  of  the  river — and  turned  one's  gaze  to 
the  left  towards  the  University,  the  first  building  which  caught 
the  eye  was  a  low,  extensive  cluster  of  towers,  the  Petit- 

119 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Chatelet,  whose  yawning  gateway  swallowed  up  the  end  of 
the  Petit-Pont.  Then,  if  you  ran  your  eye  along  the  river 
bank  from  east  to  west,  from  the  Toumelle  to  the  Tour  de 
Nesle,  it  was  one  long  line  of  houses  with  sculptured  beams, 
coloured  windows,  overhanging  storeys  jutting  out  over  the 
roadway — an  interminable  zigzag  of  gabled  houses  broken 
frequently  by  the  opening  of  some  street,  now  and  then  by  the 
frontage  or  corner  of  some  grand  mansion  with  its  gardens 
and  its  court-yards,  its  wings  and  outbuildings ;  standing 
proudly  there  in  the  midst  of  this  crowding,  hustling  throng 
of  houses,  like  a  grand  seigneur  among  a  mob  of  rustics. 
There  were  five  or  six  of  these  palaces  along  the  quay,  from 
the  Logis  de  Lorraine,  which  shared  with  the  Bernardines  the 
great  neighbouring  enclosure  of  the  Tournelle,  to  the  Tour 
de  Nesle,  the  chief  tower  of  which  formed  the  boundary  of 
Paris,  and  whose  pointed  gables  were  accustomed,  for  three 
months  of  the  year,  to  cut  with  their  black  triangles  the  scarlet 
disk  of  the  setting  sun. 

Altogether,  this  side  of  the  Seine  was  the  least  mercantile 
of  the  two :  there  was  more  noise  and  crowding  of  scholars 
than  artisans,  and  there  was .  no  quay,  properly  speaking, 
except  between  the  Pont  Saint-Michel  and  the  Tour  de  Nesle. 
The  rest  of  the  river  bank  was  either  a  bare  strand,  like  that 
beyond  the  Bernardine  Monastery,  or  a  row  of  houses  with 
their  feet  in  the  water,  as  between  the  two  bridges.  This  was 
the  domain  of  the  washerwomen ;  here  they  called  to  one 
another,  chattered,  laughed,  and  sang,  from  morning  till  night 
along  the  river  side,  while  they  beat  the  linen  vigorously — as 
they  do  to  this  day,  contributing  not  a  little  to  the  gaiety 
of  Paris. 

The  University  itself  appeared  as  one  block  forming  from 
end  to  end  a  compact  and  homogeneous  whole.  Seen  from 
above,  this  multitude  of  closely  packed,  angular,  clinging 
roofs,  built,  for  the  most  part,  on  one  geometrical  principle, 
gave  the  impression  of  the  crystallization  of  one  substance. 
Here  the  capricious  cleavage  of  the  streets  did  not  cut  up 
the  mass  into  such  disproportionate  slices.  The  forty-two 
colleges  were  distributed  pretty  equally  over  the  whole,  and 
were  in  evidence  on  all  sides.  The  varied  and  charming  roof- 
lines  of  these  beautiful  buildings  originated  in  the  same  art 

120 


A  BirdVEye  View  of  Paris 

which  produced  the  simple  roofs  they  overtopped,  being  prac- 
tically nothing  more  than  a  repetition,  in  the  square  or  cube, 
of  the  same  geometrical  figure.  Consequently,  they  lent 
variety  to  the  whole  without  confusing  it,  completed  without 
overloading  it — for  geometry  is  another  form  of  harmony. 
Several  palatial  residences  lifted  their  heads  sumptuously  here 
and  there  above  the  picturesque  roofs  of  the  left  bank :  the 
Logis  de  Nevers,  the  Logis  de  Rome,  the  Logis  de  Reims, 
which  have  disappeared ;  also  the  Hotel  de  Cluny,  which 
for  the  consolation  of  the  artist  still  exists,  but  the  tower 
of  which  was  so  stupidly  shortened  a  few  years  ago.  Near 
the  Hotel  Cluny  stood  the  Baths  of  Julian,  a  fine  Roman 
palace  with  circular  arches.  There  was,  besides,  a  number 
of  abbeys,  more  religious  in  style,  of  graver  aspect  than  the 
secular  residences,  but  not  inferior  either  in  beauty  or  in 
extent.  The  most  striking  of  these  were  the  Bernardines' 
Abbey  with  its  three  steeples ;  Sainte-Genevieve,  the  square 
tower  of  which  still  exists  to  make  us  more  deeply  regret 
the  rest ;  the  Sorbonne,  part  college,  part  monastery,  of  which 
so  admirable  a  nave  still  survives ;  the  beautiful  quadrilateral 
Monastery  of  the  Mathurins ;  *  adjacent  to  it  the  Benedictine 
Monastery,  within  the  wall  of  which  they  managed  to  knock 
up  a  theatre  between  the  issue  of  the  seventh  and  eighth 
editions  of  this  book ;  the  Abbey  of  the  Cordeliers,  with  its 
three  enormous  gables  in  a  row ;  that  of  the  Augustines,  the 
tapering  spire  of  which  was,  after  the  Tour  de  Nesle,  the 
second  pinnacle  at  this  side  of  Paris,  counting  from  the  west. 
The  colleges,  the  connecting  link  between  the  cloister  and 
the  world,  held  architecturally  the  mean  between  the  great 
mansions  and  the  abbeys,  more  severe  in  their  elegance,  more 
massive  in  their  sculpture  than  the  palaces,  less  serious  in 
their  style  of  architecture  than  the  religious  houses.  Unfor- 
tunately, scarcely  anything  remains  of  these  buildings,  in 
which  Gothic  art  held  so  admirable  a  balance  between  the 
sumptuous  and  the  simple.  The  churches  (and  they  were 
numerous  and  splendid  in  the  University  quarter,  illustrating 
every  architectural  era,  from  the  Roman  arches  of  Saint-Julien 

*  An  order  formed  in  the  twelfth  century,  specially  vowed  to  the  rescu- 
ing of  Christians  out  of  slavery. 

121 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

to  the  Gothic  arches  of  Saint-Severin) — the  churches  dom- 
inated the  whole,  and  as  one  harmony  more  in  that  sea  of 
harmpnies  they  pierced  in  quick  succession  the  waving,  fretted 
outhne  of  the  gabled  roofs  with  their  boldly  cut  spires,  their 
steeples,  their  tapering  pinnacles,  themselves  but  a  magnificent 
exaggeration  of  the  sharp  angles  of  the  roofs. 

The  ground  of  the  University  quarter  was  hilly,  swelling 
in  the  southeast  to  the  vast  mound  of  the  Montague  Sainte- 
Genevieve.  It  was  curious  to  note,  from  the  heights  of  Notre- 
Dame,  the  multitude  of  narrow  an'd  tortuous  streets  (now  the 
Quartier  Latin),  the  clusters  of  houses,  spreading  helter- 
skelter  in  every  direction  down  the  steep  sides  of  this  hill 
to  the  water-edge,  some  apparently  rushing  down,  others 
climbing  up,  and  all  clinging  one  to  the  other. 

The  inhabitants  thronging  the  streets  looked,  from  that 
height  and  at  that  distance,  like  a  swarm  of  ants  perpetually 
passing  and  repassing  each  other,  and  added  greatly  to  the 
animation  of  the  scene. 

And  here  and  there,  in  the  spaces  between  the  roofs^  the 
steeples,  the  innumerable  projections  which  so  fantastically 
bent  and  twisted  and  notched  the  outermost  line  of  the 
quarter,  you  caught  a  glimpse  of  a  moss-grown  wall,  a  thick- 
set round  tower,  an  embattled,  fortress-like  gateway — the  wall 
of  Philip  Augustus.  Beyond  this  stretched  the  verdant 
meadows,  ran  the  great  high-roads  with  a  few  houses  strag- 
gling along  their  sides,  growing  fewer  the  farther  they  were 
removed  from  the  protecting  barrier.  Some  of  these  suburbs 
were  considerable.  There  was  first — taking  the  Toumelle  as 
the  point  of  departure — the  market-town  of  Saint- Victor,  with 
its  one-arched  bridge  spanning  the  Bievre ;  its  Abbey,  where 
the  epitaph  of  King  Louis  the  Fat — epitaphium  Ludovici  Grossi 
— was  to  be  seen ;  and  its  church  with  an  octagonal  spire, 
flanked  by  four  belfry  towers  of  the  eleventh  century  (there 
is  a  similar  one  still  to  be  seen  at  Etampes).  Then  there 
was  Saint-Marceau,  which  already  boasted  three  churches  and 
a  convent ;  then,  leaving  on  the  left  the  mill  of  the  Gobelins 
with  its  white  wall  of  enclosure,  you  came  to  the  Faubourg 
Saint-Jacques  with  its  beautifully  carved  stone  cross  at  the 
cross-roads ;  the  Church  of  Saint- Jacques  du  Haut-Pas,  then 
a  charming  Gothic  structure ;  Saint-Magloire,  with  a  beautiful 

122 


A  Bird's-Eye  View  of  Paris 

nave  of  the  fourteenth  century,  which  Napoleon  turned  into 
a  hayloft ;  and  Notre-Dame-des-Champs,  which  contained 
some  Byzantine  mosaics.  Finally,  after  leaving  in  the  open 
fields  the  Chartreux  Monastery,  a  sumptuous  edifice  con- 
temporary to  the  Palais  de  Justice  with  its  garden  divided 
ofif  into  compartments,  and  the  deserted  ruins  of  Vauvert, 
the  eye  turned  westward  and  fell  upon  the  three  Roman  spires 
of  Saint-Germain-des-Pres,  in  the  rear  of  which  the  market- 
town  of  Saint-Germain,  already  quite  a  large  parish,  formed 
fifteen  or  twenty  streets,  the  sharp  steeple  of  Saint-Sulpice 
marking  one  of  the  corners  of  the  town  boundary.  Close  by 
was  the  square  enclosure  of  the  Foire  Saint-Germain,  where 
the  fairs  were  held — the  present  market-place.  Then  came 
the  abbot's  pillory,  a  charming  little  round  tower,  capped 
by  a  cone  of  lead ;  farther  on  were  the  tile-fields  and  the  Rue 
du  Four,  leading  to  the  manorial  bakehouse ;  then  the  mill 
on  its  raised  mound:  finally,  the  Lazarette,  a  small,  isolated 
building  scarcely  discernible  in  the  distance. 

But  what  especially  attracted  the  eye  and  held  it  long 
was  the  Abbey  itself.  Undoubtedly  this  monastery,  in  high 
repute  both  as  a  religious  house  and  as  a  manor,  this  abbey- 
palace,  wherein  the  Bishop  of  Paris  esteemed  it  a  privilege 
to  pass  one  night ;  with  a  refectory  which  the  architect  had 
endowed  with  the  aspect,  the  beauty,  and  the  splendid  rose- 
window  of  a  cathedral ;  its  elegant  Lady  Chapel ;  its  monu- 
mental dormitories,  its  spacious  gardens,  its  portcullis,  its 
drawbridge,  its  belt  of  crenated  wall,  which  seemed  to  stamp 
its  crested  outline  on  the  meadow  beyond,  its  court-yards 
where  the  glint  of  armour  mingled  with  the  shimmer  of  gold- 
embroidered  vestments — the  whole  grouped  and  marshalled 
round  the  three  high  Roman  towers  firmly  planted  on  a  Gothic 
transept — all  this,  I  say,  produced  a  magnificent  effect  against 
the  horizon. 

When  at  length,  after  long  contemplating  the  University, 
you  turned  towards  the  right  bank — the  Town — the  scene 
changed  its  character  abruptly.  Much  larger  than  the  Uni- 
versity quarter,  the  Town  was  much  less  of  a  united  whole. 
The  first  glance  showed  it  to  be  divided  into  several  singularly 
distinct  areas.  First,  on  the  east,  in  that  part  of  the  Town 
Avhich  still  takes  its  name  from  the  "  marais  " — the  morass 

123 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

into  which  Caniulogenes  led  Caesar — there  was  a  great  group 
of  palaces  extending  to  the  water's  edge.  Four  huge  man- 
sions, almost  contiguous — the  Hotels  Jouy,  Sens,  Barbeau, 
and  the  Logis  de  la  Reine  mirrored  in  the  Seine  their  slated 
roofs  and  slender  turrets.  These  four  edifices  filled  the  space 
between  the  Rue  des  Nonaindieres  to  the  Celestine  Abbey, 
the  spire  of  which  formed  a  graceful  relief  to  their  line  of 
gables  and  battlements.  Some  squalid,  moss-grown  hovels 
overhanging  the  water  in  front  of  these  splendid  buildings 
were  not  sufiticient  to  conceal  from  view  the  beautifully  orna- 
mented corners  of  their  fagades,  their  great  square  stone  case- 
ments, their  Gothic  porticoes  surmounted  by  statues,  the  bold, 
clear-»cut  parapets  of  their  walls,  and  all  those  charming  archi- 
tectural surprises  which  give  Gothic  art  the  appearance  of 
forming  her  combinations  afresh  for  each  new  structure. 
Behind  these  palaces  ran  in  every  direction,  now  cleft,  pali- 
saded, and  embattled  like  a  citadel,  now  veiled  by  great  trees 
like  a  Carthusian  monastery,  the  vast  and  multiform  encircling 
wall  of  that  marvellous  Hotel  Saint-Pol,  where  the  King  of 
France  had  room  to  lodge  superbly  twenty-two  princes  of 
the  rank  oi  the  Dauphin  and  the  Duke  of  Burgundy  with 
their  retinues  and  their  servants,  not  to  mention  the  great 
barons,  and  the  Emperor  when  he  came  to  visit  Paris,  and 
the  lions,  who  had  a  palace  for  themselves  within  the  royal 
palace.  And  we  must  observe  here  that  a  prince's  lodging 
comprised  in  those  days  not  less  than  eleven  apartments,  from 
the  state  chamber  to  the  oratory,  besides  all  the  galleries, 
the  baths,  the  "  sweating-rooms,"  and  other  "  superfluous 
places  "  with  which  each  suite  of  apartments  was  provided — 
not  to  mention  the  gardens  specially  allotted  to  each  guest 
of  the  King,  nor  the  kitchens,  store-rooms,  pantries,  and 
general  refectories  of  the  household ;  the  inner  court-yards  in 
which  were  situated  twenty-two  general  offices,  from  the  bake- 
house to  the  royal  cellarage;  the  grounds  for  every  sort  and 
description  of  game — mall,  tennis,  tilting  at  the  ring,  etc. ; 
aviaries,  fish-ponds,  menageries,  stables,  cattle-sheds,  libraries, 
armouries,  and  foundries.  Such  was,  at  that  day,  a  King's 
palace — a  Louvre,  an  Hotel  Saint-Pol — a  city  within  a  city. 
From  the  tower  on  which  we  have  taken  up  our  stand, 
one  obtained  of  the  Hotel  Saint-Pol,  though  half-hidden  by 

124 


A  Bird's-Eye  View  of  Paris 

the  four  great  mansions  we  spoke  of,  a  very  considerable  and 
wonderful  view.  You  could  clearly  distinguish  in  it,  though 
skilfully  welded  to  the  main  building  by  windowed  and 
pillared  galleries,  the  three  mansions  which  Charles  V  had 
absorbed  into  his  palace :  the  Hotel  du  Petit-Muce  with  the 
fretted  parapet  that  gracefully  bordered  its  roof;  the  Hotel 
of  the  Abbot  of  Saint-Maur,  having  all  the  appearance  of  a 
fortress,  with  its  massive  tower,  its  machicolations,  loopholes, 
iron  bulwarks,  and  over  the  great  Saxon  gate,  between  the 
two  grooves  for  the  drawbridge,  the  escutcheon  of  the  Abbot; 
the  Hotel  of  the  Comte  d'Etampes,  of  which  the  keep,  ruined 
at  its  summit,  was  arched  and  notched  like  a  cock's-comb ; 
here  and  there,  three  or  four  ancient  oaks  grouped  together 
in  one  great  bushy  clump ;  a  glimpse  of  swans  floating  on 
clear  pools,  all  flecked  with  light  and  shadow ;  picturesque 
corners  of  innumerable  court-yards ;  the  Lion  house,  with  its 
low  Gothic  arches  on  short  Roman  pillars,  its  iron  bars  and 
continuous  roaring;  cutting  right  through  this  picture  the 
scaly  spire  of  the  Ave-Maria  Chapel ;  on  the  left,  the  Mansion 
of  the  Provost  of  Paris,  flanked  J3y  four  delicately  perforated 
turrets ;  and,  in  the  centre  of  it  all,  the  Hotel  Saint-Pol  itself, 
with  its  multiplicity  of  facades,  its  successive  enrichments  since 
the  time  of  Charles  V,  the  heterogeneous  excrescences  with 
which  the  fancy  of  the  architects  had  loaded  it  during  two 
centuries,  with  all  the  roofs  of  its  chapels,  all  its  gables,  its 
galleries,  a  thousand  weather-cocks  turning  to  the  four  winds 
of  heaven,  and  its  two  lofty,  contiguous  towers  with  conical 
roofs  surrounded  by  battlements  at  the  base,  looking  like 
peaked  hats  with  the  brim  turned  up. 

Continuing  to  mount  the  steps  of  this  amphitheatre  of 
palaces,  rising  tier  upon  tier  in  the  distance,  having  crossed 
the  deep  fissure  in  the  roofs  of  the  Town  which  marked  the 
course  of  the  Rue  Saint-Antoine,  the  eye  travelled  on  to  the 
Logis  d'Angouleme,  a  vast  structure  of  several  periods,  parts 
of  which  were  glaringly  new  and  white,  blending  with  the 
rest  about  as  well  as  a  crimson  patch  on  a  blue  doublet. 
Nevertheless,  the  peculiarly  sharp  and  high-pitched  roof  of 
the  modern  palace — bristling  with  sculptured  gargoyles,  and 
covered  with  sheets  of  lead,  over  which  ran  sparkling  incrusta- 
tions of  gilded  copper  in  a  thousand  fantastic  arabesques — 

125 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

this  curiously  damascened  roof  rose  gracefully  out  of  the 
brown  ruins  of  the  ancient  edifice,  whose  massive  old  towers, 
bulging  cask-like  with  age,  sinking  into  themselves  with 
decrepitude,  and  rent  from  top  to  bottom,  looked  like  great 
unbuttoned  waistcoats.  Behind  rose  the  forest  of  spires  of 
the  Palais  des  Tournelles.  No  show-place  in  the  world — 
not  even  Chambord  or  the  Alhambra — could  afiford  a  more 
magical,  more  ethereal,  more  enchanting  spectacle  than  this 
grove  of  spires,  bell-towers,  chimneys,  weather-cocks,  spiral 
stair-cases ;  of  airy  lantern  towers  that  seemed  to  have  been 
worked  with  a  chisel ;  of  pavilions ;  of  spindle-shaped  turrets, 
all  diverse  in  shape,  height,  and  position.  It  might  have  been 
a  gigantic  chess-board  in  stone. 

That  sheaf  of  enormous  black  towers  to  the  right  of  the 
inky  Tournelles,  pressing  one  against  the  other,  and  bound 
together,  as  it  were,  by  a  circular  moat ;  that  donjon-keep, 
pierced  far  more  numerously  with  shot-holes  than  with  win- 
dows, its  drawbridge  always  raised,  its  portcullis  always  low- 
ered— that  is  the  Bastile.  Those  objects  like  black  beaks 
projecting  from  the  embrasures  of  the  battlements,  and  which, 
from  a  distance,  you  might  take  for  rain-spouts,  are  cannon. 
Within  their  range,  at  the  foot  of  the  formidable  pile,  is  the 
Porte  Saint-Antoine,  crouching  between  its  two  towers. 

Beyond  the  Tournelles,  reaching  to  the  wall  of  Charles 
V,  stretched  in  rich  diversity  of  lawns  and  flower-beds  a  velvet 
carpet  of  gardens  and  royal  parks,  in  the  heart  of  which, 
conspicuous  by  its  maze  of  trees  and  winding  paths,  one 
recognised  the  famous  labyrinthine  garden  presented  by  Louis 
XI  to  Coictier.  The  great  physician's  observatory  rose  out 
of  the  maze  like  a  massive,  isolated  column  with  a  tiny  house 
for  its  capital.  Many  a  terrible  astrological  crime  was  per- 
petrated in  that  laboratory.     This  is  now  the  Place  Royale. 

As  w^e  have  said,  the  Palace  quarter,  of  which  we  have 
endeavoured  to  convey  some  idea  to  the  reader,  though  merely 
pointing  out  the  chief  features,  filled  the  angle  formed  by 
the  Seine  and  the  wall  of  Charles  V  on  the  east.  The  centre" 
of  the  Town  was  occupied  by  a  congeries  of  dwelling-houses. 
For  it  was  here  that  the  three  bridges  of  the  City  on  the 
right  bank  discharged  their  streams  of  passengers ;  and  bridges 
lead  to  the  building  of  houses  before  palaces.     This  collection 

126 


A  Bird's-Eye  View  of  Paris 

of  middle-class  dwellings,  closely  packed  together  like  the 
cells  of  a  honeycomb,  was,  however,  by  no  means  devoid 
of  beauty.  The  sea  of  roofs  of  a  great  city  has  much  of  the 
grandeur  of  the  ocean  about  it.  To  begin  with,  the  streets 
in  their  crossings  and  windings  cut  up  the  mass  into  a  hun- 
dred charming  figures,  streaming  out  from  the  Halles  like 
the  rays  of  a  star.  The  streets  of  Saint-Denis  and  Saint- 
Martin,  with  their  innumerable  ramifications,  went  up  side 
by  side  like  two  great  trees  intertwining  their  branches ;  while 
such  streets  as  the  Rue  de  la  Platerie,  Rue  de  la  Verrerie,  Rue 
de  la  Tixeranderie,  etc.,  wound  in  tortuous  lines  through  the 
whole.  Some  handsome  edifices,  too,  thrust  up  their  heads 
through  the  petrified  waves  of  this  sea  of  gables.  For 
instance,  at  the  head  of  the  Pont-aux-Changeurs,  behind 
which  you  could  see  the  Seine  foaming  vmder  the  mill-wheels 
of  the  Pont-aux-Meuniers,  there  was  the  Chatelet,  no  longer 
a  Roman  keep,  as  under  Julian  the  Apostate,  but  a  feudal 
tower  of  the  thirteenth  century,  and  built  of  stone  so  hard 
that  three  hours'  work  with  the  pick  did  not  remove  more 
than  the  size  of  a  man's  fist.  Then  there  was  the  square 
steeple  of  Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie,  with  its  richly  sculp- 
tured corners,  most  worthy  of  admiration  even  then,  though 
it  was  not  completed  in  the  fifteenth  century ;  it  lacked  in 
particular  the  four  monsters  which,  still  perched  on  the  four 
coiiners  of  its  roof,  look  like  sphinxes  offering  to  modern  Paris 
the  enigma  of  the  old  to  unriddle.  Rault,  the  sculptor,  did 
not  put  them  up  till  1526,  and  received  twenty  francs  for  his 
trouble.  There  was  the  Maison-aux-Piliers,  facing  the  Place 
de  Greve,  of  which  we  have  already  given  the  reader  some 
idea ;  there  was  Saint-Gervais,  since  spoilt  by  a  doorway 
"  in  good  taste  " ;  Saint-Mery,  of  which  the  primitive  pointed 
arches  were  scarcely  more  than  circular ;  Saint- Jean,  whose 
magnificent  spire  was  proverbial ;  and  twenty  other  edifices 
which  disdained  not  to  hide  their  wonders  in  that  chaos  of 
deep,  dark,  narrow  streets.  Add  to  these  the  carved  stone 
crosses,  more  numerous  at  the  crossways  than  even  the  gib- 
bets; the  cemetery  of  the  Innocents,  of  whose  enclosing  wall 
you  caught  a  glimpse  in  the  distance  ;  the  pillory  of  the  Halles, 
just  visible  between  two  chimneys  of  the  Rue  de  la  Cosson- 
nerie ;  the  gibbet  of  the  Croix  du  Trahoir  at  the  corner  of  the 

127 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

ever-busy  thoroughfare ;  the  round  stalls  of  the  Corn  Market ; 
fragments  of  the  old  wall  of  Philip  Augustus,  distinguishable 
here  and  there,  buried  among  the  houses ;  mouldering,  ivy- 
clad  towers,  ruined  gateways,  bits  of  crumbling  walls;  the 
quay  with  its  myriad  booths  and  gory  skinning  yards ;  the 
Seine,  swarming  with  boats  from  the  Port  au  Foin  or  hay 
wharf  to  the  For-I'Eveque,  and  you  will  be  able  to  form  some 
adequate  idea  of  what  the  great  irregular  quadrangle  of  the 
Town  looked  like  in  1482. 

Besides  these  two  quarters — the  one  of  palaces,  the  other 
of  houses — the  Town  contributed  a  third  element  to  the  view : 
that  of  a  long  belt  of  abbeys  which  bordered  almost  its  entire 
circumference  from  east  to  west ;  and,  lying  just  inside  the 
fortified  wall  which  encircled  Paris,  furnished  a  second  internal 
rampart  of  cloisters  and  chapels.  Thus,  immediately  adjoin- 
ing the  park  of  the  Tournelles,  between  the  Rue  Saint-Antoine 
and  the  old  Rue  du  Temple,  stood  the  old  convent  of  Sainte- 
Catherine,  with  its  immense  grounds,  bounded  only  by  the 
city  wall.  Between  the  old  and  the  new  Rue  du  Temple  was 
the  Temple  itself,  a  grim  sheaf  of  lofty  towers,  standing 
haughty  and  alone,  surrounded  by  a  vast,  embattled  wall. 
Between  the  Rue  Neuve  du  Temple  and  the  Rue  Saint-Mar- 
tin, in  the  midst  of  gardens,  stood  the  Abbey  of  Saint-Martin, 
a  superb  fortified  church,  w^hose  girdle  of  towers  and  crown 
of  steeples  were  second  only  to  Saint-Germain-des-Pres  in 
strength  and  splendour. 

Between  the  two  streets  of  Saint-Martin  and  Saint-Denis 
stretched  the  convent  enclosure  of  the  Trinite,  and  between 
the  Rue  Saint-Denis  and  the  Rue  Montorgueil  that  of  Filles- 
Dieu.  Close  by,  one  caught  a  glimpse  of  the  mouldering 
roofs  and  broken  wall  of  the  Cour  des  Miracles,  the  only  pro- 
fane link  in  that  pious  chain. 

Lastly,  the  fourth  area,  standing  out  distinctly  in  the 
conglomeration  of  roofs  on  the  right  bank,  and  occupying 
the  eastern  angle  formed  by  the  city  wall  and  the  river  wall, 
was  a  fresh  knot  of  palaces  and  mansions  clustered  round 
the  foot  of  the  Louvre.  The  old  Louvre  of  Philip  Augustus, 
that  stupendous  pile  whose  enormous  middle  tower  mustered 
round  it  twenty-three  major  towers,  irrespective  Of  the  smaller 
ones,  appeared  from  the   distance  as   if  ancased  within  the 

128 


A  Bird's-Eye  View  of  Paris 

Gothic  roof-lines  of  the  Hotel  d'Alengon  and  the  Petit-Bour- 
bon. This  hydra  of  towers,  this  guardian  monster  of  Paris, 
with  its  twenty-four  heads  ever  erect,  the  tremendous  ridge 
of  its  roof  sheathed  in  lead  or  scales  of  slate  and  glistemng 
in  metallic  lustre,  furnished  an  unexpected  close  to  the  western 
configuration  of  the  Town. 

This,  then,  was  the  town  of  Paris  in  the  fifteenth  century 
— an  immense  mass — what  the  Romans  called  insula — of 
burgher  dwelling-houses,  flanked  on  either  side  by  two  blocks 
of  palaces,  terminated  the  one  by  the  Louvre,  the  oth'er  by 
the  Tournelles,  bordered  on  the  north  by  a  long  chain  of 
abbeys  and  walled  gardens  all  blended  and  mingling  in  one 
harmonious  whole ;  above  these  thousand  buildings  with  their 
fantastic  outline  of  tiled  and  slated  roofs,  the  steeples — fretted, 
fluted,  honeycombed — of  the  forty-four  churches  on  the  right 
bank;  myriads  of  streets  cutting  through  it;  as  boundary:  on 
one  side  a  circuit  of  lofty  walls  with  square  towers  (those  of 
the  University  wall  were  round) ;  on  the  other,  the  Seine, 
intersected  by  bridges  and  carrying  numberless  boats. 

Beyond  the  walls  a  few  suburbs  hugged  the  protection  of 
the  gates,  but  they  were  less  numerous  and  more  scattered 
than  on  the  side  of  the  University.  In  the  rear  of  the  Bas- 
tile  about  twenty  squalid  cottages  huddled  round  the  curious 
stonework  of  the  Croix-Faubin,  and  the-  abutments  of  the 
Abbey  of  Saint- Antoine  des  Champs ;  then  came  Popincourt, 
buried  in  cornfields ;  then  La  Courtille,  a  blithe  village  of 
taverns;  the  market-town  of  Saint-Laurent  with  its  church 
steeple  appearing  in  the  distance  as  if  one  of  the  pointed 
towers  of  the  Porte  Saint-Martin ;  the  suburb  of  Saint-Denis 
with  the  vast  enclosure  of  Saint-Ladre ;  outside  the  Porte- 
Montmartre,  the  Grange-Bateliere  encircled  by  white  walls ; 
behind  that  again,  with  its  chalky  slopes,  Montmartre,  which 
then  had  almost  as  many  churches  as  wind-mills,  but  has  only 
retained  the  wind-milfe,  for  the  world  is  now  merely  concerned 
for  bread  for  the  body.  Finally,  beyond  the  Louvre,  among 
the  meadows,  stretched  the  Faubourg  Saint-Honore,  already 
a  considerable  suburb,  and  the  verdant  pastures  of  Petite- 
Bretagne  and  the  Marche-aux-Porceaux  or  pig-market,  in  the 
middle  of  which  stood  the  horrible  furnace  where  they  seethed 
the  false  coiners. 

129 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

On  the  top  of  a  hill,  rising  out  of  the  solitary  plain  between 
La  Courtille  and  Saint-Laurent,  you  will  have  remarked  a 
sort  of  building,  presenting  the  appearance,  in  the  distance, 
of  a  ruined  colonnade  with  its  foundation  laid  bare.  But  this 
was  neither  a  Pantheon  nor  a  Temple  of  Jupiter;  it  was 
Montfaucon.* 

Now,  if  the  enumeration  of  so  many  edifices,  brief  as  we 
have  done  our  best  to  make  it,  has  not  shattered  in  the  reader's 
mind  the  image  of  old  Paris  as  fast  as  we  have  built  it  up,  we 
will  recapitulate  in  a  few  words.  In  the  centre,  the  island  of 
the  City  like  an  immense  tortoise,  stretching  out  its  tiled 
bridges  like  scaly  paws  from  under  its  gray  shell  of  roofs. 
On  the  left,  the  dense,  bristling,  square  block  of  the  Uni- 
versity ;  on  the  right,  the  high  semicircle  of  the  Town,  show- 
ing many  more  gardens  and  isolated  edifices  than  the  other 
two.  The  three  areas.  City,  University,  and  Town,  are  veined 
with  streets  innumerable.  Athwart  the  whole  runs  the  Seine 
— "  the  fostering  Seine,"  as  Peter  du  Breul  calls  it — en- 
cumbered with  islands,  bridges,  and  boats.  All  around,  a 
vast  plain  checkered  with  a  thousand  forms  of  cultivation  and 
dotted  with  fair  illages  ;  to  the  left,  Issy,  Vanvres,  Vaugirarde, 
Montrouge,  Gentilly,  with  its  round  and  its  square  tower, 
etc. ;  to  the  right,  a  score  of  others  from  Conflans  to  Ville- 
I'Eveque ;  on  the  horizon,  a  border  of  hills  ranged  in  a  circle, 
the  rim.  of  the  basin,  as  it  were.  Finally,  far  to  the  east,  Vin- 
cennes  with  its  seven  square  towers ;  southward,  Bicetre  and 
its  sharp-pointed  turrets ;  northward,  Saint-Denis  with  its 
spire ;  and  in  the  west,  Saint-Cloud  and  its  castle-keep.  Such 
was  the  Paris  which  the  ravens  of  1482  looked  down  upon 
from  the  heights  of  Notre-Dame. 

And  yet  this  was  the  city  of  which  Voltaire  said  that 
"  before  the  time  of  Louis  XIV  it  only  possessed  four  hand- 
some examples  of  architecture  " — the  dome  of  the  Sorbonne, 
the  Val-de-Grace,  the  modern  Louvre,  and  I  forget  the 
fourth — the  Luxembourg,  perhaps.  Fortunately,  Voltaire 
was  none  the  less  the  author  of  Candidc;  and  none  the  less 
the   man   of   all   others   in   the   long   line   of   humanity   who 

*  The  place  of  execution,  furnished  with  immense  gibbets,  the  site  of 
an  ancient  Druidical  temple. 

130 


I 


A  Bird's-Eye  View  of  Paris 

possessed  in  highest  perfection  the  rire  diaboUque — the  sar- 
donic smile.  It  proves,  besides,  that  one  may  be  a  briUiant 
genius,  and  yet  know  nothing  of  an  art  one  has  not  stud- 
ied. Did  not  Mohere  think  to  greatly  honour  Raphael  and 
Michael  Angelo  by  calling  them  "  the  Mignards  *  of  their 
age  "  ? 

But  to  return  to  Paris  and  the  fifteenth  century. 

It  was  in  those  days  not  only  a  beautiful  city ;  it  was  a 
homogeneous  city,  a  direct  product — architectural  and  his- 
torical— of  the  Middle  Ages,  a  chronicle  in  stone.  It  was  a 
city  composed  of  two  architectural  strata  only — the  Roman- 
esque and  the  Gothic — for  the  primitive  Roman  layer  had 
long  since  disappeared  excepting  in  the  Baths  of  Julian,  where 
it  still  pierced  through  the  thick  overlying  crust  of  the  Middle 
Ages.  As  for  the  Celtic  stratum,  no  trace  of  it  was  dis- 
coverable even  when  sinking  wells. 

Fifty  years  later,  when  the  Renaissance  came,  and  with 
that  unity  of  style,  so  severe  and  yet  so  varied,  associated  its 
dazzling  wealth  of  fantasy  and  design,  its  riot  of  Roman 
arches,  Doric  columns  and  Gothic  vaults,  its  delicate  and  ideal 
sculpture,  its  own  peculiar  tastes  in  arabesques  and  capitals, 
its  architectural  paganism  contemporary  with  Luther,  Paris 
was  perhaps  more  beautiful  still  though  less  harmonious  to 
the  eye  and  the  strictly  artistic  sense.  But  that  splendid 
period  was  of  short  duration.  The  Renaissance  was  not  impar- 
tial ;  it  was  not  content  only  to  erect,  it  must  also  pull  down ; 
to  be  sure,  it  required  space.  Gothic  Paris  was  complete  but 
for  a  moment.  Scarcely  was  Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie 
finished  when  the  demolition  of  the  old  Louvre  began. 

Since  then  the  great  city  has  gone  on  losing  her  beauty 
day  by  day.  The  Gothic  Paris,  which  was  effacing  the 
Romanesque,  has  been  effaced  in  its  turn.  But  what  name 
shall  be  given  to  the  Paris  which  has  replaced  it? 

We  have  the  Paris  of  Catherine  de  Medicis  in  the  Tuile- 
ries ;  the  Paris  of  Henri  II  in  the  H6tel-de-Ville,  both 
edifices  in  the  grand  style ;  the  Place  Royale  shows  us  the 
Paris  of  Henri   IV — brick  fronts,   stone   copings,   and  slate 

*  Pierre  Mignard  (1610-1695),  the  well-known  French  painter,  a  con- 
temporary of  Molifere. 


Notre- Dame  de  Paris 

roofs — tricolour  houses ;  the  Val-de-Grace  is  the  Paris  of 
Louis  XIII — low  and  broad  in  style,  with  basket-handle 
arches  and  something  indefinably  pot-bellied  about  its  pillars 
and  humpbacked  about  its  domes.  We  see  the  Paris  of 
Louis  XIV  in  the  Invalides — stately,  rich,  gilded,  cold ;  the 
Paris  of  Louis  XV  at  Saint-Sulpice — scrolls  and  love-knots 
and  clouds,  vermicelli  and  chicory  leaves — all  in  stone ;  the 
Paris  of  Louis  XVI  in  the  Pantheon,  a  bad  copy  of  Saint 
Peter's  at  Rome  (the  building  has  settled  rather  crookedly, 
which  has  not  tended  to  improve  its  lines) ;  the  Paris  of  the 
Republic  at  the  School  of  Medicine — a  spurious  hash  of 
Greek  and  Roman,  with  about  as  much  relation  to  the  Col- 
iseum or  the  Pantheon  as  the  constitution  of  the  year  III  has 
to  the  laws  of  Minos — a  style  known  in  architecture  as  "  the 
Messidor  " ;  *  the  Paris  of  Napoleon  in  the  Place  Vendome — 
a  sublime  idea,  a  bronze  column  made  of  cannons ;  the  Paris 
of  the  Restoration  at  the  Bourse — an  abnormally  white  colon- 
nade supporting  an  abnormally  smooth  frieze — it  is  perfectly 
square  and  cost  twenty  million  francs. 

To  each  of  these  characteristic  buildings  there  belongs, 
in  virtue  of  a  similarity  of  style,  of  form,  and  of  disposition, 
a  certain  number  of  houses  scattered  about  the  various  dis- 
tricts easily  recognised  and  assigned  to  their  respective  dates 
by  the  eye  of  the  connoisseur.  To  the  seeing  eye,  the  spirit 
of  a  period  and  the  features  of  a  King  are  traceable  even  in 
the  knocker  of  a  door. 

The  Paris  of  to-day  has,  therefore,  no  typical  characteristic 
physiognomy.     It  is  a  collection  of  samples  of  several  periods, 
of  which  the  finest  have  disappeared.     The  capital  is  increas- 
ing in  houses  only,  and  what  houses !     At  this  rate,  there  « 
will  be  a  new  Paris  every  fifty  years.     The  historic  signifi-  1 
cance,  too,  of  its  architecture  is  lessened  day  by  day.     The  * 
great  edifices  are  becoming  fewer  and  fewer,  are  being  swal- 
lowed up  before  our  eyes  by  the  flood  of  houses.    Our  fathers 
had  a  Paris  of  stone ;  our  sons  will  have  a  Paris  of  stucco. 

As  for  the  modern  structures  of  this  new  Paris,  we  would 
much  prefer  not  to  dilate  upon  them.     Not  that  we  fail  to    j 

*  From  that  period  of  the  French  Revolution  when  this  bad  imitation 
of  the  antique  was  much  in  vogue. 


A  Bird's-Eye  View  of  Paris 

g^ve  them  their  due.  The  Sainte-Genevieve  of  M.  Soufifiot 
is  certainly  the  finest  tea-cake  that  ever  was  made  of  stone. 
The  palace  of  the  Legion  d'Honneur  is  also  a  most  distin- 
guished piece  of  confectionery.  The  dome  of  the  Corn 
Market  is  a  jockey-cap  set  on  the  top  of  a  high  ladder.  The 
towers  of  Saint-Sulpice  are  two  great  clarinets — a  shape  which 
is  as  good  as  any  other — and  the  grinning  zigzag  of  the  tele- 
graph agreeably  breaks  the  monotony  of  their  roofs.  Saint- 
Roch  possesses  a  door  that  can  only  be  matched  in  magnifi- 
cence by  that  of  Saint  Thomas  Aquinas ;  also  it  owns  a  Calvary 
in  alto-relievo  down  in  a  cellar,  and  a  monstrance  of  gilded 
wood — real  marvels  these,  one  must  admit.  The  lantern 
tower  in  the  maze  at  the  Botanical  Gardens  is  also  vastly 
ingenious.  As  regards  the  Bourse,  which  is  Greek  as  to  its 
colonnade,  Roman  as  to  the  round  arches  of  its  windows 
and  doors,  and  Renaissance  as  to  its  broad,  low,  vaulted  roof, 
it  is  indubitably  in  purest  and  most  correct  style ;  in  proof 
of  which  we  need  only  state  that  it  is  crowned  by  an  attic 
story  such  as  was  never  seen  in  Athens — a  beautiful  straight 
line,  gracefully  intersected  at  intervals  by  chimney  pots.  And, 
admitting  that  it  be  a  rule  in  architecture  that  a  building 
should  be  so  adapted  to  its  purpose  that  that  purpose  should 
at  once  be  discernible  in  the  aspect  of  the  edifice,  no  praise 
is  too  high  for  a  structure  which  might,  from  its  appearance, 
be  indiflferently  a  royal  palace,  a  chamber  of  deputies,  a 
town  hall,  a  college,  a  riding-school,  an  academy,  a  warehouse, 
a  court  of  justice,  a  museum,  a  barracks,  a  mausoleum,  a 
temple,  or  a  theatre — and  all  the  time  it  is  an  Exchange. 
Again,  a  building  should  be  appropriate  to  the  climate.  This 
one  is  obviously  constructed  for  our  cold  and  rainy  skies. 
It  has  an  almost  flat  roof,  as  they  obtain  in  the  East,  so  that 
in  winter,  when  it  snows,  that  roof  has  to  be  swept,  and,  of 
course,  we  all  know  that  roofs  are  intended  to  be  swept. 
And  as  regards  the  purpose  of  which  we  spoke  just  now, 
the  building  fulfils  it  to  admiration :  it  is  a  Bourse  in  France 
as  it  would  have  been  a  Temple  in  Greece.  It  is  true  that 
the  architect  has  been  at  great  pains  to  conceal  the  face  of 
the  clock,  which  would  have  spoilt  the  pure  lines  of  the 
fagade ;  but  in  return,  we  have  the  colonnade  running  round 
the  entire  building,  under  which,  on  high-days  and  holidays, 

133 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

the  imposing  procession  of  stock-brokers  and  exchange- 
agents  can  display  itself  in  all  its  glory. 

These  now  are  undoubtedly  very  superior  buildings.  Add 
to  them  a  number  of  such  handsome,  interesting,  and  varied 
streets  as  the  Rue  de  Rivoli,  and  I  do  not  despair  of  Paris 
offering  one  day  to  the  view,  if  seen  from  a  balloon,  that 
wealth  of  outline,  that  opulence  of  detail,  that  diversity  of 
aspect,  that  indescribable  air  of  grandeur  in  its  simplicity, 
of  the  unexpected  in  its  beauty,  which  characterizes — a 
draught-board. 

Nevertheless,  admirable  as  the  Paris  of  to-day  may  seem 
to  you,  conjure  up  the  Paris  of  the  fifteenth  century ;  rebuild 
it  in  imagination ;  look  through  that  amazing  forest  of  spires, 
towers,  and  steeples ;  pour  through  the  middle  of  the  immense 
city  the  Seine,  with  its  broad  green  and  yellow  pools  that 
make  it  iridescent  as  a  serpent's  skin ;  divide  it  at  the  island 
points,  send  it  swirhng  round  the  piers  of  the  bridges;  project 
sharply  against  an  azure  horizon  the  Gothic  profile  of  old 
Paris ;  let  its  outline  float  in  a  wintry  mist  clinging  round 
its  numerous  chimneys ;  plunge  it  in  deepest  night,  and  watch 
the  fantastic  play  of  light  and  shadow  in  that  sombre  labyrinth 
of  edifices ;  cast  into  it  a  ray  of  moonlight,  showing  it  vague 
and  uncertain,  with  its  towers  rearing  their  massive  heads 
above  the  mists ;  or  go  back  to  the  night  scene,  touch  up  the 
thousand  points  of  the  spires  and  gables  with  shadow,  let  it 
stand  out  more  ridged  and  jagged  than  a  shark's  jaw  against 
a  coppery  sunset  sky — and  then  compare. 

And  if  you  would  receive  from  the  old  city  an  impression 
the  modern  one  is  incapable  of  giving,  go  at  dawn  on  some 
great  festival — Easter  or  Whitsuntide — and  mount  to  some 
elevated  point,  whence  the  eye  commands  the  entire  capi- 
tal, and  be  present  at  the  awakening  of  the  bells.  Watch,  at 
a  signal  from  heaven — for  it  is  the  sun  that  gives  it — those 
thousand  churches  starting  from  their  sleep.  First  come  scat- 
tered notes  passing  from  church  to  church,  as  when  musicians 
signal  to  one  another  that  the  concert  is  to  begin.  Then, 
suddenly  behold — for  there  are  moments  when  the  ear,  too, 
seems  to  have  sight — behold,  how,  at  the  same  moment,  from 
every  steeple  there  rises  a  column  of  sound,  a  cloud  of 
harmony.     At   first   the   vibration   of   each   bell   mounts   up 

134 


A  Bird's-Eye  View  of  Paris 

straight,  pure,  isolated  from  the  rest,  into  the  resplendent  sky 
of  mom ;  then,  by  degrees,  as  the  waves  spread  out,  they 
mingle,  blend,  unite  one  with  the  other,  and  melt  into  one 
magnificent  concert.  Now  it  is  one  unbroken  stream  of 
sonorous  sound  poured  incessantly  from  the  innumerable 
steeples — floating,  undulating,  leaping,  eddying  over  the  city, 
the  deafening  circle  of  its  vibration  extending  far  beyond 
the  horizon.  Yet  this  scene  of  harmony  is  no  chaos.  Wide 
and  deep  though  it  be,  it  never  loses  its  limpid  clearness ; 
you  can  follow  the  windings  of  each  separate  group  of  notes 
that  detaches  itself  from  the  peal ;  you  can  catch  the  dialogue, 
deep  and  shrill  by  turns,  between  the  bourdon  and  the  crecelle; 
you  hear  the  octaves  leap  from  steeple  to  steeple,  darting 
winged,  airy,  strident  from  the  bell  of  silver,  dropping  halt 
and  broken  from  the  bell  of  wood.  You  listen  delightedly  to 
the  rich  gamut;  incessantly  ascending  and  descending,  of  the 
seven  bells  of  Saint-Eustache ;  clear  and  rapid  notes  flash 
across  the  whole  in  luminous  zigzags,  and  then  vanish  like 
lightning.  That  shrill,  cracked  voice  over  there  comes  from 
the  Abbey  of  Saint-Martin ;  here  the  hoarse  and  sinister  growl 
of  the  Bastile ;  at  the  other  end  the  boom  of  the  great  tower 
of  the  Louvre.  The  royal  carillon  of  the  Palais  scatters  its 
glittering  trills  on  every  side,  and  on  them,  at  regular  inter- 
vals, falls  the  heavy  clang  of  the  great  bell  of  Notre-Dame, 
striking  flashes  from  them  as  the  hammer  from  the  anvil. 
At  intervals,  sounds  of  every  shape  pass  by,  coming  from 
the  triple  peal  of  Saint-Germain-des-Pres.  Then,  ever  and 
anon,  the  mass  of  sublime  sound  opens  and  gives  passage  to 
the  sfretto  of  the  Ave-Maria  chapel,  flashing  through  like 
a  shower  of  meteors.  Down  below,  in  the  very  depths  of  the 
chorus,  you  can  just  catch  the  chanting  inside  the  churches, 
exhaled  faintly  through  the  pores  of  their  vibrating  domes. 
Here,  in  truth,  is  an  opera  worth  listening  to.  In  general, 
the  murmur  that  rises  up  from  Paris  during  i^he  daytime  is 
the  city  talking ;  at  night  it  is  the  city  breathing ;  but  this  is 
the  city  singing.  Lend  your  ear,  then,  to  this  tutti  of  the 
bells ;  diffuse  over  the  ensemble  the  murmur  of  half  a  million 
of  human  beings,  the  eternal  plaint  of  the  river,  the  ceaseless 
rushing  of  the  wind,  the  solemn  and  distant  quartet  of  the 
four  forests  set  upon  the  hills,  round  the  horizon,  like  so  many 
H  1^5  Vol.  4 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

enormous  organ-cases ;  muffle  in  this,  as  in  a  sort  of  twilight, 
all  of  the  great  central  peal  that  might  otherwise  be  too  hoarse 
or  too  shrill,  and  then  say  whether  you  know  of  anything  in 
the  w^orld  more  rich,  more  blithe,  more  golden,  more  daz- 
zling, than  this  tumult  of  bells  and  chimes — this  furnace  of 
music,  these  ten  thousand  brazen  voices  singing  at  once  in 
flutes  of  stone,  three  hundred  feet  high — this  city  which  Is  now 
but  one  vast  orchestra — 4;his  symphony  with  the  mighty  uproar 
of  a  tempest. 


^^)- 


136 


BOOK   IV 


CHARITABLE   SOULS 

Sixteen  years  before  the  events  here  recorded  took  place, 
early  on  Quasimodo  or  Low-Sunday  morning,  a  human  crea- 
tureji_acl_been. deposited  after  Mass  on  the.- plank  bed  fastened 
fo  the  pavement  on  the  left  of  the  entrance  to  Notre-Danie, 
opposite  the  "  great  image  "  of  Saint  Christopher,  which  the 
kneeling  stone  figure  of  Messire  Antoine  des  Essarts,  knight, 
had  contemplated  since  1413.  Upon  this  bed  it  was  cus- 
tomary_  to  expose  foundling  children  to;:  the  charity  of-the 
public";  any  one  could  take  them  away  who  chose.  In  front 
of  the  bed  was  a  copper  basin  for  the  reception  of  alms. 

The  specii^.en  of  humanity  lying  on  this  plank  on  the 
morning  of  Quasimodo-Sunday,  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  1467, 
seemed  to  invite,  in  a  high  degree,  the  curiosity  of  the  very 
considerable  crowd  which  had  collected  round  it.  This  crowd 
was  largely  composed  of  members  of  the  fair  sex;  in  fact, 
there  were  hardly  any  but  old  women. 

In  front  of  the  row  of  spectators,  stooping  low  over  the 
bed,  were  four  of  them  whom  by  their  gray-  cagoules — a  kind  of 
hooded  cassock — one  recognised  as  belonging  to  some  re- 
ligious order.  I  sec  no  reason  why  history  should  not  hand 
down  to  posterity  the  names  of  these  discreet  and  venerable 
dames.  They  were:  Agnes  la  Herme,  Jehanne  de  la  Tarme, 
Henriette  la  Gaultiere,  and  Gauchere  la  Violette — all  four 
widows,  all  four  bedes-women  of  the  Chapelle  Etienne- 
Haudry,  who,  with  their  superior's  permission,  and  conform- 
ably to  the  rules  of  Pierre  d'Ailly,  had  come  to  hear  the 
sermon. 

137 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

However,  if  these  good  sisters  were  observing  for  the 
moment  the  rules  of  Pierre"  d'Ailly,  they  were  certainly 
violating  to  their  heart's  content  those  of  Michel  de  Brache 
and  the  Cardinal  of  Pisa,  which  so  inhumanly  imposed  silence 
upon  them. 

"What  can  that  be,  sister?"  said  Agnes  la  Gauchere  as 
she  gazed  at  the  little  foundling,  screaming  and  wriggling  on 
its  wooden  pallet,  terrified  by  all  these  staring  eyes. 

"  What  are  we  coming  to,"  said  Jehanne,  "  if  this  is  the 
kind  of  children  they  bring  into  the  world  now  ?  " 

"  I  am  no  great  judge  of  children,"  resumed  Agnes,  "  but 
it  must  surely  be  a  sin  to  look  at  such  a  one  as  this." 

"  It's  not  a  child,  Agnes." 

"  It's  a  monkey  spoiled,"  observed  Gauchere. 

"  It's  a  miracle,"  said  Henriette  la  Gaultiere. 

"  If  so,"  remarked  Agnes,  "  it  is  the  third  since  Lsetare 
Sunday,  for  it  is  not  a  week  since  we  had  the  miracle  of  the 
mocker  of  pilgrims  suffering  divine  punishment  at  the  hands 
of  Our  Lady  of  Aubervilliers,  and  that  was  already  the  second 
within  the  month." 

"  But  this  so-called  foundling  is  a  perfect  monster  of 
abomination,"  said  Jehanne. 

"  He  bawls  loud  enough  to  deafen  a  precentor,"  continued 
Gauchere.     "  Hold  your  tongue,  you  little  bellower !  " 

"  And  to  say  that  the  Bishop  of  Reims  sent  this  mon- 
strosity to  the  Bishop  of  Paris !  "  exclaimed  Gaultiere,  clasp- 
ing her  hands. 

"  I  expect,"  said  Agnes  la  Herme,  "  that  it  is  really  a  beast 
of  some  sort,  an  animal — the  offspring  of  a  Jew  and  a  sow ; 
something,  at  any  rate,  that  is  not  Christian,  and  that  ought 
to  be  committed  to  the  water  or  the  fire." 

"  Surely,"  went  on  La  Gaultiere,  "  nobody  will  have  any- 
thing to  do  with  it." 

"  Oh,  mercy !  "  cried  Agnes,  "  what  if  those  poor  nurses 
at  the  foundling-house  at  the  bottom  of  the  lane  by  the  river, 
close  beside  the  Lord  Bishop's — what  if  they  take  this  little 
brute  to  them  to  be  suckled !  I  would  rather  give  suck  to 
a  vampire." 

"  What  a  simpleton  she  is,  that  poor  La  Herme !  "  returned 
Jehanne ;  '*  don't  you  see,  ma  scrur,  that  this  little  monster 

138 


charitable  Souls 

is  at  least  four  years  old,  and  that  a  piece  of  meat  would  be 
more  to  his  taste  than  your  breast  ?  " 

And  in  truth  "  the  little  monster  "  (for  we  ourselves  would 
be  at  a  loss  to  describe  it  by  any  other  name)  was  not  a  new- 
born babe.  It  was  a  little  angular,  wriggling  lump,  tied  up 
In  a  canvas  sack  marked  with  the  monogram  of  Messire  Guil- 
laume  Chartier,  the  then  Bishop  of  Paris,  with  only  its  head 
"sticking  out  at  one  end.  But  what  a  head!  All  that  was 
visible  was  a  thatch  of  red  hair,  an  eye,  a  mouth,  and  some 
teeth.  The  eye  wept,  the  mouth  roared,  and  the  teeth  seemed 
only  too  ready  to  bite.  The  whole  creature  struggled  vio- 
lently in  the  sack,  to  the  great  wonderment  of  the  crowd, 
constantly  increasing  and  collecting  afresh. 

The  Lady  Aloise  de  Gondelaurier,  a  wealthy  and  noble 
dame,  with  a  long  veil  trailing  from  the  peak  of  her  head-dress, 
and  holding  by  the  hand  a  pretty  little  girl  of  about  six  years 
of  age,  stopped  in  passing  and  looked  for  a  moment  at  the 
hapless  creature,  while  her  charming  little  daughter,  Fleur- 
de-Lys  de  Gondelaurier,  all  clad  in  silks  and  velvets,  traced 
with  her  pretty  finger  on  the  permanent  tablet  attached  to  the 
bed  the  words :  "  Enfants  troiivcs." 

"  Good  lack !  "  said  the  lady,  turning  away  in  disgust.  "  I 
thought  they  exposed  here  nothing  but  babes." 

And  she  went  on  her  way,  first,  however,  tossing  a  silver 
florin  into  the  basin  among  the  coppers,  causing  the  eyes  of 
the  poor  sisters  of  the  Chapelle  Etienne-Haudry  to  open  wide 
with  astonishment. 

A  moment  afterward  the  grave  and  learned  Robert  Mistri- 
colle,  protonotary  to  the  King,  came  along,  with  an  enormous 
missal  under  one  arm,  and  on  the  other  his  wife  (Dame  Guille- 
mette  la  Mairesse),  having  thus  at  his  side  his  two  monitors 
— the  spiritual  and  the  temporal. 

"  Foundling ! "  said  he,  after  examining  the  object. 
"  Found  evidently  on  the  brink  of  the  river  Phlegethon." 

"  You  can  see  but  one  eye,"  observed  Dame  Guillemette. 
*'  There  is  a  wart  over  the  other." 

"  That  is  no  wart,"  returned  Maitre  Robert  Mistricolle. 
"  That  is  an  &gg  containing  just  such  another  demon,  which 
has  a  similar  little  tgg  with  another  little  devil  inside  it, 
and  so  on." 

'39 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"How  do  you  know  that?"  asked  Dame  Guillemette. 

"  I  know  it  for  a  fact,"  replied  the  protonotary. 

"  Monsieur  the  protonotary,"  asked  Gauchere,  "  what  do 
you  predict  from  this  pretended  foundUng?" 

""  The  greatest  calamities,"  returned  Mistricolle. 

"  Ah,  mon  Dim! "  cried  an  old  woman  among  the  by- 
standers, "  and  there  was  already  a  considerable  pestilence 
last  year,  and  they  say  that  the  English  are  prepared  to  land 
in  great  companies  at  Harfleur." 

"  Maybe  that  will  prevent  the  Queen  coming  to  Paris  in 
September,"  remarked  another,  "  and  trade  is  bad  enough 
as  it  is." 

"  It's  my  opinion,"  cried  Jehanne  de  la  Tarme,  "  that  it 
would  be  better  for  the  people  of  Paris  if  this  little  wizard 
were  lying  on  a  bundle  of  fagots  instead  of  a  bed." 

"  And  nice  blazing  fagots  too,"  added  the  old  woman. 

"  It  would  be  wiser,"  said  Mistricolle. 

For  some  moments  past  a  young  priest,  stern  of  face,  with 
a  broad  forehead  and  penetrating  eye,  had  stood  listening  to 
the  argument  of  the  Haudriette  sisters,  and  the  pronounce- 
ments of  the  protonotary.  He  now  silently  parted  the  crowd, 
examined  the  "  little  wizard,"  and  stretched  a  hand  over 
him.  It  was  high  time,  for  these  pious  old  women  were 
already  licking  their  lips  in  anticipation  of  the  "  fine  blazing 
fagots."  /    ^     II 

"  I  adopt  this  child,"  said  the  priest.  ^  ^^^^^^  (^^cU^ 

He  wrapped  it  in  his  soutane  and  carried  it  off,  the  by- 
standers looking  after  him  in  speechless  amazement.  The 
next  moment  he  had  disappeared  through  the  Porte  Rouge, 
which  led  at  that  time  from  the  church  into  the  cloister. 

The  first  shock  of  surprise  over,  Jehanne  de  la  Tarme  bent 
down  and  whispered  in  the  ear  of  La  Gaultiere :  "  Did  I  not 
say  to  you,  ma  soeur,  that  that  young  cleric,  M.  Claude  Frollo, 
was  a  sorcerer  ?  " 


140 


Claude  Frollo 
II 

CLAUDE   FROLLO 

In  truth,  Claude  Frollo  was  no  ordinary  person. 

He  belonged  to  one  of  those  families  which  it  was  the 
foolish  fashion  of  th-e  last  century  to  describe  indifferently 
as  the  upper  middle  class  or  lower  aristocracy. 

The  family  had  inherited  from  the  brothers  Paclet  the 
fief  of  Tirechappe,  which  was  held  of  the  Bishop  of  Paris,  and 
the  twenty-one  houses  of  which  had,  since  the  thirteenth 
century,  been  the  object  of  countless  litigations  in  the  Ecclesi- 
astical Court.  As  owner  of  this  fief,  Claude  Frollo  was  one 
of  the  "  seven  times  twenty-one  "  seigneurs  claiming  manorial 
dues  in  Paris  and  its  suburbs ;  and  in  that  capacity  his  name 
was  long  to  be  seen  inscribed  between  the  Hotel  de  Tancar- 
ville,  belonging  to  Maitre  Francois  le  Rez,  and  the  College 
of  Tours,  in  the  cartulary  deposited  at  Saint-Martin  des 
Champs. 

From  his  childhood  Claude  Frollo  had  been  destined  by 
his  parents  for  the  priesthood.  He  had  been  taught  to  read  in 
Latin ;  he  had  early  been  trained  to  keep  his  eyes  downcast, 
and  to  speak  in  subdued  tones.  While  still  quite  a  child  his 
father  had  bound  him  to  the  monastic  seclusion  of  the  College 
de  Torchi  in  the  University,  and  there  he  had  grown  up  over 
the  missal  and  the  lexicon. 

He  was,  however,  by  nature  a  melancholy,  reserved,  seri- 
ous boy,  studying  with  ardour  and  learning  easily.  He  never 
shouted  in  the  recreation  hour ;  he  mixed  but  little  in  the 
bacchanalia  of  the  Rue  du  Fouarre ;  did  not  know  what  it  was 
to  dare  alapas  et  capillos  laniare*  and  had  taken  no  part  in 
that  Students'  riot  of  1463,  which  the  chroniclers  gravely  re- 
cord as  "  The  Sixth  Disturbance  in  the  University."  It  rarely 
happened  that  h'e  jibed  at  the  poor  scholars  of  Montaigu  for 
their  "  cappettes,"  from  which  they  derived  their  nickname, 
or  the  exhibitioners  of  the  College  de  Dormans  for  their 
smooth  tonsure  and  their  tricoloured  surcoats  of  dark  blue, 

*  Deal  out  cuffs  on  the  head  and  fight. 
141 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

light  blue  and  violet  cloth — asurini  coloris  et  hruni,  as  the 
charter  of  the  Cardinal  des  Quatre-Couronnes  puts  it. 

On  the  other  hand,  he  was  assiduous  in  his  attendance 
at  the  higher  and  lower  schools  of  the  Rue  Saint-Jean  de 
Beauvais,  The  first  scholar  whom  the  Abbe  de  Saint-Pierre 
de  Val  caught  sight  of,  established  against  a  pillar  in  the  Ecole 
Saint-Vendregesile,  exactly  opposite  to  his  desk  when  he 
began  his  lecture  on  Canon  Law,  was  invariably  Claude 
Frollo,  armed  with  his  inkhorn,  chewing  his  pen,  scribbling 
on  his  threadbare  knees,  or,  in  winter,  blowing  on  his 
fingers.  The  first  pupil  Messire  Miles  d'lsliers,  doctor  of 
ecclesiastical  law,  saw  arrive  breathless  every  Monday  morn- 
ing as  the  door  of  the  Chef-Saint-Denis  schools  opened,  was 
Claude  Frollo.  Consequently,  by  the  time  he  was  sixteen, 
the  young  cleric  was  a  match  in  mystical  theology  for  ^' 
Father  of  the  Church,  and  in  scholastic  theology  for_a  Doctor 
of  the  Sorbonne.  ^'^ 

Having  finished  with  theology,  he  threw  himself  into 
canonical  faw  and  the  study  of  tlie  decretals,  v^^v^    •s^'^-'.si.x 

FfonT '  the  Magister  Scntentiarum  he  had  fallen  upon 
the  Capitularies  of  Charlemagne,  and  in  his  insatiable  hun- 
ger for  knowledge  had  devoured  decretal  after  decretal : 
those  of  Theodore,  Bishop  of  Hispalis,  those  of  Bouchard, 
Bishop  of  Worms,  those  of  Yves,  Bishop  of  Chartres ;  then 
the  decretal  of  Gratian,  which  came  after  Charlemagne's 
Capitularies ;  then  the  collection  of  Gregory  IX ;  then  the 
epistle  Super  specula  of  Honorius  III.  He  thoroughly  in- 
vestigated and  made  himself  familiar  with  that  vast  and  stormy 
period  of  <bitter  and  protracted  struggle  between  Civil  and 
Ecclesiastical  Law  during  the  chaos  of  the  Middle  Ages,  a 
period  which  Bishop  Theodore  began  in  6i8,  and  Pope  Greg- 
ory closed  in  1227. 

The  decretals  assimilated,  he  turned  his  attention  to  medi- 
cine and  the  liberal  arts ;  studied  the  science  of  herbs  and  of 
salves ;  became  an  expert  in  the  treatment  of  fevers  and  con- 
tusions, of  wounds  and  of  abscesses.  Jacques  d'Espars  would 
have  passed  him  as  physician ;  Richard  Hellain,  as  surgeon. 
He  ran  through  the  degrees  of  Licentiate,  Master,  and  Doctor 
of  Arts ;  he  studied  languages :  Latin,  Greek,  and  Hebrew 
— a  thrice  inner  sanctuary  of  learning  seldom  penetrated  at 

142 


Claude  Frollo 

that  time.  He  was  possessed  by  a  veritable  rage  for  acquiring 
and  storing  up  knowledge.  At  eighteen,  he  had  made  his 
way  through  the  four  faculties.  Life  for  this  young  man 
seemed  to  have  but  one  aim  and  object— knowledge. 
"°~i:t  was  just  about  this  time  that  the  excessive  heat  of 
the  summer  of  1466  caused  the  outbreak  of  that  great  pesti- 
lence which  carried  ofif  more  than  forty  thousand  people  in 
the  jurisdiction  of  Paris,  among  others,  says  Jean  de  Troyes, 
"  Maitre  Arnoul,  the  King's  astrologer,  a  right  honest  man, 
both  wise  and  merry  withal."  The  rumour  spread  through 
the  University  that  the  Rue  Tirechappe  had  been  specially 
devastated  by  the  malady.  It  was  here,  in  the  middle  of  their 
fief,  that  Claude's  parents  dwelt.  Much  alarmed,  the  young 
student  hastened  forthwith  to  his  father's  house,  only  to  find 
t(hat  both  father  and  mother  had  died  the  previous  day.  An 
infant  brother,  in  swaddling-clothes,  was  still  alive  and  lay 
wailing  and  abandoned  in  the  cradle.  This  was  all  that  re- 
mained to  Claude  of  his  family.  The  young  man  took  the 
child  in  his  arms  and  went  thoughtfully  away.  Hitherto  he 
had  lived  only  injhe  world  of. Learning ;.  now  he_jyas.io  begin 
living  in  the  world  of  Life, 

This  catastrophe  was  a  turning  point. in  Claude  Frollo's 
existence.  An  orphan,  an  elder  brother,  and  the  head  of  his 
house^at  nineteen,  he  felt  himself  rudely  recalled  from  the 
"reveries  of  the  school  to  the^  realities  of  the  wod^-  It  was 
then  that,  moved  with  pity,  he  was  seized  with  a  passionate 
devotion  for  this  infant  brother.  How  strange  and  sweet  a 
Ihingthis  human  afifection  to  him,  who  had  never  yet  loved 
aught  but  hooks ! 

This  affection  waxed  strong  to  a  singular  degree ;  in  a 
soul  so  new  to  passion,  it  was  like  a  first  love.  Separated  since 
his  childhood  from  his  parents  whom  he  had  scarcely  known ; 
cloistered  and  immured,  as  it  were,  in  his  books,  eager  before 
all  things  to  study,  to  learn  ;  attentive  hitherto  only  to  his 
intellect  which  expanded  in  science,  to  his  imagination  which 
grew  with  his  literary  studies,  the  poor  scholar  had  not  yet 
had  time  to  feel  that  he  had  a  heart.  This  young  brother, 
without  mother  or  father,  this  helpless  babe,  suddenly  fallen 
from  the  skies  into  his  arms,  tnade  a  new  man  of  him._^_He 
perceived^Jor  the  first  time  that  there  were  other  things  in 

143 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

the  world  besides  the  speculations  of  the  Sorbonne  and  the 
verses  of  Homer;  that  Man  has  need  of  the  affections;  that 
life  without  tenderness  and  without  love  is  a  piece  of  heartless 
mechanism,  insensate,  noisy,  wearisome.  Only,  he  imagined, 
being  as  yet  at  the  age  when  one  illusion  is  replaced  merely 
by  another  illusion,  that  the  affections  of  blood  and  kindred 
were  the  only  ones  necessary,  and  the  love  for  a  little  brother 
was  sufficient  to  fill  his  whole  existence. 

He  threw  himself,  therefore,  into  the  love  of  his  little 
Jehan  with  all  the  passion  of  a  character  already  profound, 
ardent,  and  concentrated.  The  thought  of  this  poor,  pretty, 
rosy,  golden-haired  creature,  this  orphan  with  another  orphan 
for  its  sole  support,  moved  him  to  the  heart's  core,  and  like 
the  earnest  thinker  that  he  was,  he  began  to  reflect  upon 
Jehan  with  a  sense  of  infinite  compassion.  He  lavished  all 
his  solicitude  upon  him  as  upon  something  very  fragile,  very 
specially  recommended  to  his  care.  He  became  more  than 
a  brother  to  the  babe :  he  became  a  mother. 

Little  Jehan  having  still  been  at  the  breast  when  he  lost 
his  mother,  Claude  put  him  out  at  nurse.  Besides  the  fief 
of  Tirechappe,  he  inherited  from  his  father  that  of  Moulin, 
which  was  held  of  the  square  tower  of  Gentilly.  It  was  a  mill 
standing  upon  rising  ground,  near  the  Castle^f  .."\yinchestre, 
the  present  Bicetre.  The  rniller's  wife  was  suckling  a  line 
boy  at  the  time ;  the  mill  was  not  far  from  the  University, 
and  Claude  carried  his  little  Jehan  to  her  himself. 

Thenceforward,  feeling  he  had  a  heavy  responsibility  on 
his  shoulders,  he  took  life  very  seriously.  The  thought  of  his 
little  brother  not  only  became  his  recreation  from  study,  but 
the  chief  object  of  those  studies.  He  resolved  to  devote 
himself  wholly  to  the  future  of  that  being  for  whom  he  was 
answerable  before  God,  and  never  to  have  any  other  spouse, 
any  other  child  than  the  happiness  and  welfare  of  his  little 
brother. 

He  bound  himself,  therefore,  still  more  closely  to_his 
clerical  vocation.  His  personal  merits,  his  learning,  his  posi- 
tion as  an  immediate  vassal  of  the  Bishop  of  Paris,  opened  wide 
to  him  the  doors  of  the  Church.  At  twenty,  by  special  dis- 
pensation from  the  Holy  See,„he  was  ordained  i)riest»..and  as 
the  youngest  of  the  chaplains  of  Notre-Dame,. performed  the 

144 


Claude  Frollo 

service  at  the  altar  ca'ilecl,  from  the  late  hour  at  which  the 
mass  was  ccltbr^efl  there,  altare.  pigrorum — the  sluggards' 
altar. 
~"  After  this,  and  because  he  was  more  than  ever  immersed 
in  his  beloved  books,  which  he  only  left  to  hasten  for  an  hour 
to  the  mill,  this  union  of  wisdom  and  austerity,  so  rare  at 
^.  (^  his  age,  had  speedily  gained  him  the  respect  and  admiration 
^?X^f  the  cloister.     From  the  cloister  his  fame  for  erudition  had 


r.^y 


spread  to  the  people,  by  whom,  as  frequently  happened  in 
those  days,  it  had  been  converted  in  some  sort  into  a  reputa- 
tion for  necromancy. 

It  was  just  as  he  was  returning  on  Quasimodo-Sunday 
from  celebrating  mass  for  the  sluggards  at  their  altar — which 
was  beside  the  door  in  the  choir  leading  into  the  nave,  on 
the  right,  near  the  image  of  the  Virgin — that  his  attention  had 
been  arrested  by  the  group  of  old  women  chattering  round 
the  foundling. 

He  accordingly  drew  nearer  to  the  poor  little  creature, 
the  object  of  so  much  abhorrence  and  ill-will.  The  sight  of 
its  distress,  its  deformity,  its  abandonment,  the  remembrance 
of  his  young  brother,  the  horror  that  suddenly  assailed  him 
at  the  thought  that  if  he  were  to  die  his  beloved  little  Jehan 
rnight  thus  be  miserably  exposed  upon  the  selfsame  bed — all 
this  rushed  into  his  mind  at  once,  and,  moved  by  an  impulse 
of  profound  compassion,  he  had  carried  away  the  child. 

When  he  took  the  child  out  of  the  sack,  he  found  it  was 
indeed  ill-favoured.  The  poor  little  wretch  had  a  great  wart 
over  the  left  eye,  its  head  was  sunk  between  its  shoulders,  the 
spine  arched,  the  breastbone  protruding,  the  legs  bowed. 
Yet  he  seemed  lively  enough ;  and  although  it  was  impossible 
to  make  out  the  language  of  his  uncouth  stammerings,  his 
voice  evidenced  a  fair  degree  of  health  and  strength.  Claude's 
compassion  was  increased  by  this  ugliness,  and  he  vowed  in 
his  heart  to  bring  up  this  child  for  love  of  his  brother;  so 
that,  whatever  in  the  future  might  be  the  faults  of  little  Jehan, 
this  good  deed,  performed  in  his  stead,  might  be  accounted 
to  Tiinifc^  righteousness.  It  was  a  sort  of  investment  in 
charity  effected  in  his  brotheFs  hameja  stock  of  good  works 
laid  up  for  him  in  advance,  on  which  the  little  rogue  might 
fall  back  if  some  day  he  found  himself  short  of  that  peculiar 

145 


Notre- Dame  de  Paris 

form  of  small  change — the  only  kincl  accepted  at  the  Gate 
of  Heaven. 

He  christened  his  adopted  child  by  the  name  of  Quasi- 
modo, either  to  commemorate  thereby  the  day  on  which 
he  found  him,  or  to  indicate  by  that  name  how  incomplete 
and  indefinite  of  shape  the  unfortunate  little  creature  was. 
And,  in  truth,  one-eyed,  humpbacked,  bow-legged,  poor 
Quasimodo  could  hardly  be  accounted  more  than  "  quasi " 
human. 


ni 

IMMANIS    PECORIS    CUSTOS,    IMMANIOR   IPSE  * 

Now,  by  1482,  Quasimodo  had  come  to  man's  estate,  and 
had  been  for  several  years  bell-ringer  at  Notre-Dame,  by  the 
grace  of  his  adopted  father,  Claude  Frollo — who  had  become 
archdeacon  of  Josas,  by  the  grace  of  his  liege  lord,  Louis  de 
Beaumont — who,  on  the  death  of  Guillaume  Chartier  in  1472, 
had  become  Bishop  of  Paris,  by  the  grace  of  his  patron,  Olivier 
le  Daim,  barber  to  Louis  XI,  King  by  the  grace  of  God. 

Quasimodo  then  was  bell-ringer  of  Notre-Dame. 

As  time  went  on  a  certain  indescribable  bond  of  intimacy 
had  formed  between  the  bell-ringer  and  the  church.  Separated 
forever  from  the  world  by  the  double  fatality  of  his  unknown 
birth  and  his  actual  deformity,  imprisoned  since  his  childhood 
within  those  two  impassable  barriers,  the  unfortunate  creature 
had  grown  accustomed  to  taking  note'o!  nothing  outside  the 
sacred  walls  which  had  afforded  him  a  refuge  within  their 
shade.  Notre-Dame  had  been  to  him,  as  he  grew  up,  suc- 
cessively the  egg,  the  nest,  his  home,  his  country,  the  uni- 
verse. 

Certain  it  is  that  there  was  a  sort  of  mysterious  and  pre- 
existent  harmony  between  this  being  and  this  edifice.  When, 
as  a  quite  young  child,  he  would  drag  himself  about  with 
many  clumsy  wrigglings  and  jerks  in  the  gloom  of  its  arches, 

*  The  guardian  of  a  terrific  beast,  himself  more  terrible. 

146 


Immanis  Pecoris   Gustos,   Immanior  Ipse 

he  seemed,  with  his  human  face  and  beast-like  limbs,  the 
fiaitural  reptile  of  that  dark  and  humid  stone  floor,  on  which" 
the  shadows  of  the  Roman  capitals  fell  in  so  many  fan- 
tastic shapes.  "'^~'      ~*— — '•-' 


And  later,  the  first  time  he  clutched  mechanically  at  the 
bell-rope  in  the  tower,  clung  to  it  and  set  the  bell  in  motion, 
the  effect  to  Claude,  his  adopted  father,  was  that  of  a  child 
whose  tongue  is  loosened  and  begins  to  talk. 

Thus,  as  his  being  unfolded  itself  gradually  under  the 
brooding  spirit  of  the  Cathedral ;  as  he  lived  in  it,  slept  in  it, 
rarely  went  outside  its  walls,  subject  every  moment  to  its 
mysterious  influence,  he  came  at  last  to  resemble  it,  to  blend 
with  it  and  form  an  integral  part  of  it.  His  salient  angles 
fitted,  so  to  speak,  into  the  retreating  angles  of  the  edifice 
till  he  seemed  not  its  inhabitant,  but  its  natural  tenant.  He 
might  almost  be  said  to  have  taken  on  its  shape,  as  the  snail 
does  that  of  its  shell.  It  was  his  dwelling-place,  his  strong- 
hold, his  husk.  There  existed  between  him  and  the  ancient 
church  so  profound  an  instinctive  sympathy,  so  many  material 
affinities,  that,  in  a  way,  he  adhered  to  it  as  a  tortoise  to  his 
shell.     The  hoary  Cathedral  was  his  carapace. 

Needless  to  say,  the  reader  must  not  accept  literally  the 
similes  we  are  forced  to  employ  in  order  to  express  this 
singular  union — symmetrical,  direct,  consubstantial  almost — 
between  a  human  being  and  an  edifice.  Nor  is  it  necessary 
to  describe  how  minutely  familiar  he  had  become  with  every 
part  of  the  Cathedral  during  so  long  and  so  absolute  an 
intimacy.  This  was  his  own  peculiar  dwelling-place — no 
depths  in  it  to  which  Quasimodo  had  not  penetrated,  no 
heights  which  he  had  not  scaled.  Many  a  time  had  he 
crawled  up  the  sheer  face  of  it  with  no  aid  but  that  afforded 
by  the  uneven  surface  of  the  sculpture.  The  towers,  over 
whose  surface  he  might  often  be  seen  creeping  like  a  lizard 
up  a  perpendicular  wall — those  two  giants,  so  lofty,  so  grim, 
so  dangerous — had  for  him  no  terrors,  no  threats  of  vertigo 
or  falls  from  giddy  heights ;  to  see  them  so  gentle  between  his 
hands,  so  easy  to  scale,  you  would  have  said  that  he  had 
tamed  them.  By  dint  of  leaping  and  climbing,  of  sportively 
swinging  himself  across  the  abysses  of  the  gigantic  Cathedral, 
he  had  become  in  some  sort  both  monkey  and  chamois,  or 

H7 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

like  the  Calabrian  child  that  swims  before  it  can  run,  whose 
first  play-fellow  is  the  sea. 

Moreover,  not  only  his  body  seemed  to  have  fashioned 
itself  after  the  Cathedral,  but  his  mind  also.  In  what  condi- 
tion was  this  soul  of  his?  What  impressions  had  it  received, 
what  form  had  it  adopted  behind  that  close-drawn  veil,  under 
the  influence  of  that  ungentle  life,  it  would  be  hard  to  say. 
Quasimodo  had  been  born  halt,  humpbacked,  half-blind. 
With  infinite  troubled  and  unwearied  patience  Claude  FroUo 
had  succeeded  in  teaching  him  to  speak.  But  a  fatality 
seemed  to  pursue  the  poor  foundling.  When,  at  the  age  of 
fourteen,  he  became  a  bell-ringer  at  Notre-Dame,  a  fresh 
infirmity  descended  on  him  to  complete  his  desolation :  the 
bells  had  broken  the  drum  of  his  ears  and  he  became  stone- 
deaf.  The  only  door  Nature  had  left  for  him  wide  open  to 
the  world  was  suddenly  closed  forever. 

And  in  closing  it  cut  off  the  sole  ray  of  joy  and  sunshine 
which  still  penetrated  to  the  soul  of  Quasimodo,  and  plunged 
that  soul  into  deepest  night.  The  melancholy  of  the  unhappy 
creature  became  chronic  and  complete  like  his  physical  de- 
formity. Besides,  his  deafness  rendered  him  in  some  sort 
dumb ;  for,  to  escape  being  laughed  at,  from  the  moment  he 
found  he  could  not  hear,  he  firmly  imposed  upon  himself 
a  silence  which  he  rarely  broke  except  when  he  was  alone. 
Of  his  own  free-will,  he  tied  that  tongue  which  Claude  Frollo 
had  been  at  such  pains  to  loosen.  And  hence  it  was  that 
when  necessity  constrained  him  to  speak,  his  tongue  moved 
stiffly  and  awkwardly  like  a  door  on  rusty  hinges. 

Were  we  to  endeavour  to  pierce  through  that  thick,  hard 
rind  and  penetrate  to  Quasimodo's  soul ;  could  we  sound  the 
depths  of  that  misshapen  organization ;  were  it  given  to  us 
to  flash  a  torch  into  that  rayless  gloom,  to  explore  the  dark- 
some interior  of  that  opaque  structure,  illumine  its  dim  wind- 
ings, its  fantastic  culs-de-sac,  and  suddenly  throw  a  bright 
light  on  the  Psyche  chained  in  the  innermost  recesses  of  that 
cavern,  we  should  doubtless  find  the  hapless  creature  with- 
ered, stunted  like  those  prisoners  who  grew  old  in  the 
dungeons  of  Venice,  bent  double  within  the  narrow  limits 
of  a  stone  chest  too  low  and  too  short  to  permit  of  their 
stretching  themselves. 

148 


Immanis  Pecoris  Gustos,   Immanior  Ipse 

It  is  certain  that  the  spirit  wastes  in  a  misshapen  body. 
Quasimodo  scarcely  felt  within  him  the  feeble  stirrings  of  a 
soul  made  after  his  own  image.  His  impression  of  objects 
suffered  a  considerable  refraction  before  they  reached  his 
inner  consciousness.  His  mind  was  a  peculiar  medium ;  the 
ideas '  that  passed  through  it  issued  forth  distorted.  The 
'reflectiori  born  of  that  refraction  was  necessarily  divergent 
and  crooked. 

Hence  his  thousand  optical  illusions,  hence  the  thousand 
aberrations   of  his  judgment,   the   thousand   vagaries   of  his 
^thoughts,  sometimes  mad,  sometimes  idiotic. 

The.  first  effect  of  this  fatal  organization  was  to  blur  his 
view  of  things.  He  scarcely  ever  received  a  direct  impres- 
sion" of  them ;  the  external  world  seemed  to  him  much  farther 
ofif  than  it  does  from  us.  ^o-''^^ 

The  second  efifect  of  his  misfortune  was  to  render  him 
malevolent.     He  was  malevolent  really  because  he  was  unciv-     4 
ilized,  and  he  was  uncivilized  because   he  was  ill-favoured. 
There  was  method  in  his  nature  as  well  as  in  ours. 

Also  his  physical  strength^  which  was  extraordinarily 
developed,  was  another  cause  of  his  malevolence — "Mains  pner 
robicstus,"  *  says  Hobbes. 

However,  to  do  him  justice,  this  malevolence  was  probably  , 
not  inborn  in  him.  From  his  very  first  experience  among^,, 
men,  he  had  felt,  and  later  he  had  seen,  himself  reviled, 
scorned,  spat  upon.  For  him  human  speech  had  ever  been 
either  a  jibe  or  a  curse.  As  he  grew  up,  he  had  met  nothing 
but  disgust  and  ill-will  on  every  side.  What  wonder  that  he 
should  have  caught  the  disease,  have  contracted  the  prevail- 
ing malice.  He  armed  himself  with  the  weapons  that  had 
wounded  him. 

But,  after  all,  he  turned  his  face  unwillingly  towards  man- 
kind." His  Cathedral  was  sufficient  for  him.  Was  it  not 
pe'bpted  with  kings,  saints,  and  bishops  of  marble  who  never 
mocked  at  him,  but  ever  gazed  at  him  with  calm  and  benevo- 
lent eyes  ?  And  the  other  stone  figures — the  demons  and  mon- 
sters— they  showed  no  hatred  of  Quasimodo — he  looked  too 
much  akin  to  them  for  that.     Rather  they  scofifed  at  other 

*  The  strong  youth  is  wicked, 
149 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

men.  The  saints  were  his  friends  and  blessed  him,  the  mon- 
sters were  his  friends  and  protected  him.  So  he  would  com- 
mune long  and  earnestly  with  them,  passing  whole  hours 
crouched  in  front  of  a  statue,  holding  solitary  converse  with 
it.  If  any  one  happened  upon  him,  he  would  fly  like  a  lover 
surprised  in  a  serenade. 

And  the  Cathedral  not  only  represented  society ;  it  vvas  his 
world,  it  was  all  Nature  to  him.  He  dreamed  of  no  other 
gardens  but  the  stained  windows  ever  in  flower,  no  shade  but 
that  cast  by  the  stone  foliage  spreading  full  of  birds  from  the 
tufted  capitals  of  the  Roman  pillars,  no  mountains  but>,the 
colossal  towers  of  the  Cathedral,  no  ocean  but  Paris  roaring 
round  their  base. 

But  what  he  loved  best  of  all  in  that  material  edifice,  that 
which  awakened  his  soul  and  set  the  poor  wings  fluttering 
that  lay  so  sadly  folded  when  in  that  dreary  dungeon,  what 
brought  him  nearest  to  happiness,  was  the  bells.  He  loved 
them,  fondled  them,  talked  to  them,  understood  them.  From 
the  carillon  in  the  transept  steeple  to  the  great  bell  over  the 
central  doorway,  they  all  shared  in  his  afifection.  The  transept 
belfry  and  the  two  towers  were  to  him  three  great  cages,  the 
birds  in  which,  taught  by  him,  w^ould  sing  for  him  alone.  Yet 
it  was  these  same  bells  which  had  made  him  deaf ;  but  mothers 
are  often  fondest  of  the  child  who  has  made  them  suffer  most. 

True,  theirs  were  the  only  voices  he  could  still  hear.  For 
this  reason  the  great  bell  was  his  best  beloved.  She  was 
his  chosen  one  among  that  family  of  boisterous  sisters  who 
gambolled  round  him  in  high-days  and  holidays.  This  great 
bell  was  called  Marie.  She  was  alone  in  the  southern  tower 
with  her  sister  Jacqueline,  a  bell  of  smaller  calibre,  hanging 
in  a  cage  beside  hers.  This  Jacqueline  had  been  christened 
after  the  wife  of  Jean  Montagu,  who  had  given  it  to  the 
church — a  donation  which  had  not  prevented  him  from  figur- 
ing at  Montfaucon  without  his  head.  In  the  northern  tower 
were  six  other  bells,  and  six  smaller  ones  shared  the  transept 
belfry  with  the  wooden  bell,  which  was  only  rung  from  the 
afternoon  of  Maundy  Thursday  till  the  morning  of  Easter 
eve.  Quasimodo  had  thus  fifteen  bells  in  his  seraglio,  but 
big  Marie  was  the  favourite.  What  words  shall  describe  his 
delight  on  the  days  when  the  full  peal  was  rung  ?  The  moment 

150 


Immanis  Pecoris  Gustos,   Immanior  Ipse 

the  Archdeacon  gave  the  word,  he  was  up  the  spiral  stair-case 
of  the  steeple  quicker  than  any  one  else  would  have  come 
down.  He  entered  breathless  into  the  aerial  chamber  of  the 
great  bell,  gazed  at  her  for  a  moment  with  doting  fondness, 
then  spoke  softly  "to  her  and  patted  her  as  you  would  a  good 
steed  before  starting  on  a  long  journey;  sympathizing  with 
her  in  the  heavy  task  that  lay  before  her.  These  preliminary 
caresses  over,  he  called  out  to  his  assistants,  waiting  ready  in 
the  lower  floor  of  the  tower,  to  begin.  These  hung  them- 
selves tt)  the  ropes,  the  windlass  creaked,  and  the  huge  metal 
dome  set  itself  slowly  in  motion.  Quasimodo,  quivering  with 
excitement,  followed  it  with  his  eye.  The  first  stroke  of  the 
clapper  against  its  brazen  wall  shook  the  wood-work  on  which 
he  was  standing.  Quasimodo  vibrated  with  the  bell. 
"  Vah !  "  he  shouted  with  a  burst  of  insane  laughter.  Mean- 
while the  motion  of  the  bell  quickened,  and  in  the  same 
measure  as  it  took  a  wider  sweep,  so  the  eye  of  Quasimodo 
opened  more  and  more  and  blazed  with  a  phosphorescent 
light. 

At  length  the  full  peal  began;  the  whole  lower  wood-work 
and  blocks  of  stone  trembled  and  groaned  together  from  the 
piles  of  the  foundation  to  the  trefoils  on  its  summit.  Quasi- 
modo, foaming  at  the  mouth,  ran  to  and  fro,  quivering  with 
the  tower  from  head  to  foot.  The  bell,  now  in  full  and 
furious  swing,  presented  alternately  to  each  wall  of  the  tower 
its  brazen  maw,  from  which  poured  forth  that  tempestuous 
breath  which  could  be  heard  four  leagues  distant.  Quasi- 
rtjodo  placed^  himseli  in  front  of  this  gaping  throat,  crouched 
down  and  rose  again  at  each  return  of  the  bell,  inhaled  its 
furious  breath,  gazed  in  turn  at  the  teeming  square  two  hun- 
dredfeet  below  and  at  the  enormous  brazen  tongue  which 
came  .at^measured  intervals  to  bellow  in  his  ear.  It  was  the, 
only  speech  he  understood,  the  only  sound  that  broke  for 
him  the  imiversal  silence.  He  revelled  in  it  like  a  bird  in 
the  sunshine. 

Then,  at  a  certain  point,  the  frenzy  of  the  bell  would  catch 
him ;  his  expression  grew  strange  and  weird ;  waiting  for  the 
Cell  on  its  passage  as  a  spider  watches  for  the  fly,  he  would 
fling  himself  headlong  upon  it.  Then,  suspended  over  the 
abyss,  borne  to  and  fro  by  the  tremendous  rush  of  the  bell, 

151 


'S 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

he  seized  the  brazen  monster  by  its  ears,  pressed  it  between 
his  two  knees,  dug  his  heels  into  it,  and  increased  by  the 
shock  and  the  whole  weight  of  his  body  the  fury  of  the  peal, 
till  the  tower  rocked  again.  Meanwhile  Quasimodo,  shouting 
~*  and  gnashing  his  teeth,  his  red  hair  bristling,  his  chest  heav- 
ing like  a  blacksmith's  bellows,  his  eye  darting  flames,  his 
monstrous  steed  neighing  and  panting  under  him — it^was  no 
longer  the  great  bell  of  Notre-Dame  or  Quasimodo,  it  was 
a  nightmare,  a  whirlwind,  a  tempest ;  Vertigo  astride  of 
Clamour ;  a  spirit  clinging  to  a  flying  saddle ;  a  strange  cen- 
taur, half  man,  half  bell ;  a  sort  of  horrible  Astolpho  carried 
off  by  a  prodigious  living  hippogrifif  of  bronze. 

The  presence  of  this  extraordinary  being  sent,  as  it  were, 
a  breath  of  life  pulsing  through  the  whole  Cathedral.  There 
seemed  to  emanate  from  him — at  least  so  said  the  exaggerat- 
ing populace — a  mysterious  influence  which  animated  the 
stones  of  Notre-Dame  and  made  the  ancient  church  thrill  to 
her  deepest  depths.  To  know  that  he  was  there  was  enough 
to  make  them  believe  they  saw  life  and  animation  in  the 
thousand  statues  of  the  galleries  and  portals.  The  old  Cathe- 
dral did  indeed  seem  docile  and  obedient  to  his  hand ;  she 
awaited  his  command  to  lift  up  her  sonorous  voice ;  she  was 
possessed  and  filled  with  Quasimodo  as  with  a  familiar  spirit. 
You  would  have  said  that  he  made  the  immense  building 
breathe.  He  was  everywhere  in  it ;  he  multiplied  himself  at 
every  point  of  the  structure.  Now  the  terrified  behold^er 
would  descry,  on  the  topmost  pinnacle  of  a  tower,  a  fantastic, 
dwarfish  figure  climbing,  twisting,  crawling  on  all-fours, 
hanging  over  the  abyss,  leaping  from  projection  to  projection 
to  thrust  his  arm  down  the  throat  of  some  sculptured  gorgon:' 
it  was  Quasimodo  crow's-nesting.  Again,  in  some  dim  corner 
of  the  church  one  would  stumble  against  a  sort  of  living 
chimera  crouching  low,  with  sullen,  furrowed  brow:  it  was 
Quasimodo  musing.  Or  again,  in  a  steeple  you  caught  sight 
of  an  enormous  head  and  a  bundle  of  confused  limbs  swinging 
furiously  at  the  end  of  a  rope :  it  was  Quasimodo  ringing  for 
vespers  or  angelus.  Often  at  night  a  hideous  form  might  be 
seen  wandering  along  the  delicate  and  lace-like  parapet  that 
crowns  the  towers  and  borders  the  roof  of  the  chancel  •  again 
the   hunchback   of   Notre-Dame.      At   such   times,   said   the 

152 


The  Dog  and  His  Master 

gossips,  the  whole  church  assumed  a  horrible,  weird,  and 
slipernatural  air;  eyes  and  mouths  opened  here  and  there; 
the  stone  dogs,  the  dragons,  all  the  monsters  that  keep  watch 
and  ward,  day  and  night,  with  necks  distended  and  open 
mouths,  round  the  huge  Cathedral,  were  heard  barking  and 
hissing.  And  if  it  happened  to  be  a  Christmas-night  when 
the  great  bell  seemed  to  rattle  in  its  throat  as  it  called  the 
faithful  to  the  midnight  mass,  there  was  such  an  indescribable 
air  of  life  spread  over  the  sombre  fagade  that  the  great  door- 
way looked  as  if  it  were  swallowing  the  entire  crowd,  and 
the  rose-window  staring  at  them.  And  all  this  proceeded 
from  Quasimodo.  Egypt  would  have  declared  him  the  god 
of  this  temple ;  the  Middle  Ages  took  him  for  its  demon : 
he  was  its  soul. 

So  much  so,  that  to  any  one  who  knows  that  Quasimodo 
really  lived,  Notre-Dame  now  appears  deserted,  inanimate, 
dead.  One  feels  that  something  has  gone  out  of  it.  This 
immense  body  is  empty — a  skeleton ;  the  spirit  has  quitted 
it;  one  sees  the  place  of  its  habitation,  but  that  is  all.  It 
is  like  a  skull — the  holes  are  there  for  the  eyes,  but  they 
are  sightless. 


IV 

THE   DOG  AND   HIS   MASTER 

There  was,  however,  one  human  being  whom  Quasimodo 
excepted  from  the  malice  and  hatred  he  felt  for  the  rest  of 
mankind,  and  whom  he  loved  as  much,  if  not  more,  than 
his  Cathedral :  and  that  was  Claude  Frollo. 

The  case  was  simple  enough.  Claude  Frollo  had  rescued 
him,  had  adopted  him,  fed  him,  brought  him  up.  When  he 
was  little,  it  was  between  Claude  FroUo's  knees  that  he  sought 
refuge  from  the  children  and  the  dogs  that  ran  yelping  after 
him.  Claude  Frollo  had  taught  him  to  speak,  to  read,  to 
write.  Finally,  it  was  Claude  Frollo  who  made  him  bell- 
ringer  of  Notre-Dame ;  and  to  give  the  great  bell  in  marriage 
to  Quasimodo  was  giving  Juliet  to  Romeo. 

153 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

And  in  return,  Quasimodo's  gratitude  was  deep,  passion- 
ate, and  boundless ;  and  althougli  the  countenance  of  his 
adopted  father  was  often  clouded  and  severe,  although  his 
speech  was  habitually  brief,  harsh,  imperious,  never  for  one 
single  moment  did  that  gratitude  falter.  In  Quasimodo 
the  Archdeacon  possessed  the  most  submissive  of  slaves,  the 
most  obedient  of  servants,  the  most  vigilant  of  watch-dogs. 
When  the  poor  bell-ringer  became  deaf,  between  him  and 
Claude  Frollo  there  had  been  established  a  mysterious  lan- 
guage of  signs,  intelligible  to  them  alone.  In  this  way,  then, 
the  Archdeacon  was  the  sole  human  being  with  whom  Quasi- 
modo had  preserved  a  communication.  There  were  but  two 
things  in  this  world  with  which  he  had  any  connection : 
Claude  Frollo  and  the  Cathedral. 

The  empire  of  the  Archdeacon  over  the  bell-ringer^  and 
the  bell-ringer's  attachment  to  the  Archdeacon,  were  absolutely 
unprecedented.  A  sign  from  Claude,  or  the  idea  that  it  would 
give  him  a  moment's  pleasure,  and  Quasimodo  would  have 
cheerfully  cast  himself  from  the  top  of  Notre-Dame.  There 
was  something  remarkable  in  all  that  physical  force,  so 
extraordinarily  developed  in  Quasimodo,  being  placed  by  him 
blindly  at  the  disposal  of  another.  In  it  there  was  doubtless 
much  of  filial  devotion,  of  the  attachment  of  the  servant ;  but 
there  was  also  the  fascination  exercised  by  one  mind  over 
another;  it  was  a  poor,  feeble,  awkward  organism  standing 
with  bent  head  and  supplicating  eyes  in  the  presence  of  a 
lofty,  penetrating,  and  commanding  intellect.  Finally,  and 
before  all  things,  it  was  gratitude — gratitude  pushed  to  such 
extreme  limits  that  we  should  be  at  a  loss  for  a  comparison. 
That  virtue  is  not  one  of  those  of  which  the  brightest  examples 
are  to  be  found  in  man.  Let  us  then  say  that  Quasimodo 
loved  the  Archdeacon  as  never  dog,  never  horse,  never  ele- 
phant loved  his  master. 


154 


Further  Particulars  of  Claude  FroUo 

V 

FURTHER  PARTICULARS  OF  CLAUDE  FROLLO 

In  1482  Quasimodo  was  about  twenty,  Claude  Frollo 
about  thirty-six.  The  one  had  grown  up,  the  other  had 
grown  old. 

Claude  Frollo  was  no  longer  the  simple-minded  scholar 
of  the  Torchi  College,  the  tender  guardian  of  a  little  child, 
the  young  and  dreamy  philosopher,  who  knew  many  things, 
but  was  ignorant  of  more.  He^as_a_pnest— austere,  grave, 
morose — having  a  cure  of  souls ;  Monsieur  the  Archdeacon  of 
Josas ;  second  acolyte  to  the  Bishop;  having  the  charge  of  the 
two  deaneries  of  Montlhery  and  Chateaufort,  and  of  a  hundred 
and  seventy-four  rural  clergy.  He  was  an  imposing  and 
sombre  personage,  before  whom  the  chorister  boys  in  alb 
-and  tunic,  the  brethren  of  Saint- Augustine,  and  the  clerics 
oil  early  Tnorning  duty  at  Notre-Dame,  quailed  and  trembled, 
when  he  passed  slowly  under  the  high  Gothic  arches  of  the 
choir — stately,  deep  in  thought,  with  folded  arms,  and  his  head 
bent  so  low  upon  his  breast  that  nothing  was  visible  of  his 
face  but  his  high  bald  forehead. 

Dom  *  Claude  Frollo,  however,  had  abandoned  neither 
science  nor  the  education  of  his  young  brother — the  two 
occupations  of- his  life.  But  in  the. course  of  time  some  bit- 
terness had  mingled  with  these  things  he  once  had  thought 
so  sweet.  With  time,  says  Paul  Diacre,  even  the  best  bacon 
turns  rancid.  Little  Jehan  Frollo,  surnamed  "of  the  Mill  "  from 
the  place  where  he  had  been  nursed,  had  not  grown  in  the 
direction  in  which  Claude  would  have  wished  to  train  him. 
The  elder  brother  had  counted  on  a  pious  pupil,  docile,  studi- 
ous, and  honourable.  But  the  younger  brother,  like  those 
young  trees  which  baffle  the  efforts  of  the  gardener,  and  turn 
obstinately  towards  that  side  from  which  they  derive  most 
air  and  sunshine — the  younger  brother  increased  and  waxed 
great,  and  sent  forth  full  and  luxuriant  branches  only  on  the 

*  Title  attaching  to  a  certain  class  of  the   priesthood,  equivalent   to 
"The  Reverend." 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

side  of  idleness,  ignorance,  and  loose  living.  He  was  an 
unruly  little  devil,  which  made  Dom  Claude  knit  his  Throws, 
but  also  very  droll  and  very  cunning,  at  which  the  elder  was 
fain  to  smile.  Claude  had  consigned  him  to  that  same  Col- 
lege de  Torchi  in  which  he  himself  had  passed  his  earliest 
years  in  study  and  seclusion;  and  it  grieved  him  sorely  that 
this  retreat,  once  edified  by  the  name  of  FroUo,  should  be 
so  scandalized  by  it  now.  He  would  sometimes  read  Jehan 
long  and  stern  lectures  on  the  subject,  under  which  the  latter 
bore  up  courageously — after  all,  the  young  rascal's  heart  v/as 
in  the  right  place,  as  all  the  comedies  declare ;  but  the  sermon 
over,  he  calmly  resumed  the  evfl  tenor  of  his  ways.  Some- 
times it  was  a  hejanne,  or  yellow-beak,  as  they  called  the  new- 
comers at  the  University — whom  he  had  thoroughly  badgered 
as  a  welcome — a  valuable  custom  which  has  been  carefully 
handed  down  to  our  day ;  now  he  had  been  the  moving  spirit 
of  a  band  of  scholars  who  had  thrown  themselves  in  classical 
fashion  on  a  tavern,  quasi  classico  excitati,  then  beaten  the 
tavern-keeper  ''  with  cudgels  of  offensive  character,"  and 
joyously  pillaged  the  tavern,  even  to  staving  in  the  hogsheads 
of  wine.  And  the  result  was  a  fine  report  drawn  up  in  Latin, 
brought  by  the  sub-monitor  of  the  Torchi  College  to  Dom 
Claude,  with  piteous  mien,  the  which  bore  the  melancholy 
marginal  remark,  Rixa;  prima  causa  vinum  optimum  potatum* 
Finally,  it  was  said — horrible  in  a  lad  of  sixteen — that  his 
backslidings  frequently  extended  to  the  Rue  de  Glatigny.f 

In  consequence  of  all  this,  Claude — saddened,  his  faith 
in  human  afifection  shaken — threw  himself  with  frenzied  ardour 
into  the  arms  of  science,  that  sister  who  at  least  never  laughs 
at  you  in  derision,  and  who  always  repays  you,  albeit  at  times 
in  somewhat  light  coin,  for  the  care  you  have  lavished  on 
her.  He  became,  therefore,  more  and  more  erudite,  and,  as 
a  natural  consequence,  more  and  more  rigid  as  a  priest,  less 
and  less  cheerful  as  a  man.  In  each  of  us  there  are  certain 
parallels  between  our  mind,  our  manners,  and  our  characters 
Vvhich  develop  in  unbroken  continuity,  and  are  only  shaken 
by  the  great  cataclysms  of  life. 

*  A  brawl,  the  immediate  result  of  too  liberal  potations, 
f  A.  street  of  ill-fame. 


Further  Particulars  of  Claude  Frollo 

Claude  Frollo,  having  in  his  youth  gone  over  the  entire  cir- 
cle of  human  knowledge,  positive,  external,  and  lawful,  was 
under  the  absolute  necessity,  unless  he  was  to  stop  ubi  defuif 
dybis,"^  of  going  farther  afield  in  search  of  food  for  the  insatia- 
ble appetite  of  his  mind.  The  ancient  symbol  of  the  serpent 
biting  its  tail  is  especially  appropriate  to  learning,  as  Claude 
Frollo  had  evidently  proved.  Many  trustworthy  persons  as- 
serted that,  after  having  exhausted  the  fas  of  human  knowl- 
edge, he  had  had  the  temerity  to  penetrate  into  the  nefas, 
had  tasted  in  succession  all  the  apples  of  the  Tree  of  Knowl- 
edge, and,  whether  from  hunger  or  disgust,  had  finished  by 
eating  of  the  "forbidden  fruit.  He  had  taken  his  seat  by  turns, 
as  the  reader  has  seen,  at  the  conferences  of  the  theologians 
at  the  Sorbonne,  at  the  disputations  of  the  decretalists  near 
the  image  of  Saint-Martin,  at  the  meetings  of  the  Faculty 
of  Arts  near  the  image  of  Saint-Hilary,  at  the  confabulations 
of  the  physicians  near  the  bcniticr  of  Notre-Dame,  ad  cupam 
Nostrcc-Domincc ;  all  the  viands,  permitted  and  approved, 
which  those  four  great  kitchens,  called  the  four  Faculties, 
could  prepare  and  set  before  the  intelligence,  he  had  devoured, 
and  satiety  had  come  upon  him  before  his  hunger  was  ap- 
peased. Then  he  had  penetrated  farther  afield,  had  dug 
deeper,  underneath  all  that  finite,  material,  limited  knowl- 
edge ;  he  had  risked  his  soul,  and  had  seated  himself  at  that 
mystic  table  of  the  Alchemists,  the  Astrologers,  the  Hermetics 
of  which  Averroes,  Guillaume  de  Paris,  and  Nicolas  Flamel 
occupy  one  end  in  the  Middle  Ages,  and  which  reaches  back 
in  the  East,  under  the  rays  of  the  seven-branched  candlestick, 
to  Solomon,  Pythagoras,  and  Zoroaster. 

So,  at  least,  it  was  supposed,  whether  rightly  or  not. 

It  is  certainly  true  that  the  Archdeacon  frequently  visited 
the  cemetery  of  the  Holy  Innocents,  where,  to  be  sure,  his 
mother  and  father  lay  buried  with  the  other  victims  of  the 
plague  of  1466 ;  but  he  seemed  much  less  devoutly  interested 
in  the  cross  on  their  grave  than  in  the  strange  figures  covering 
the  tombs  of  Nicolas  Flamel  and  Claude  Pernelle  close  by. 

It  is  certainly  true  that  he  had  often  been  seen  stealing 
down  the  Rue  des  Lombards  and  slipping  furtively  into  a 

*  Where  the  world  comes  to  an  end. 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

little  house  which  formed  the  comer  of  the  Rue  des  Ecrivains 
and  the  Rue  Marivault.  This  was  the  house  which  Nicolas 
Flamel  had  built,  in  which  he  died  about  1417,  and  which, 
uninhabited  ever  since,  was  beginning  to  fall  into  decay,  so 
much  had  the  Hermetics  and  Alchemists  from  all  the  ends  of 
the  world  worn  away  its  walls  by  merely  engraving  their 
names  upon  them.  Some  of  the  neighbours  even  declared 
how,  through  a  hole  in  the  wall,  they  had  seen  the  Arch- 
deacon digging  and  turning  over  the  earth  in  those  two 
cellars,  of  which  the  door-jambs  had  been  scrawled  over  with 
innumerable  verses  and  hieroglyphics  by  Nicolas  Flamel 
himself.  It  was  supposed  that  Flamel  had  buried  here  the 
philosopher's  stone ;  and  for  two  centuries  the  Alchemists, 
from  Magistri  to  Pere  Pacifique,  never  ceased  to  burrow  in 
that  ground,  till  at  last  the  house,  so  cruelly  ransacked  and 
undermined,  crumbled  into  dust  under  their  feet. 

Again,  it  is  true  that  the  Archdeacon  was  seized  with  a 
remarkable  passion  for  the  symbolical  portal  of  Notre-Dame, 
that  page  of  incantation  written  in  stone  by  Bishop  Guillaume 
of  Paris,  who  is  without  doubt  among  the  damned  for  having 
attached  so  infernal  a  frontispiece  to  the  sacred  poem  eternally 
chanted  by  the  rest  of  the  edifice.  The  Archdeacon  Claude 
was  also  credited  with  having  solved  the  mystery  of  the 
colossal  Saint-Christopher,  and  of  that  tall,  enigmatical  statue 
which  stood  then  at  the  entrance  of  the  Parvis  of  the  Cathe- 
dral, and  derisively  styled  by  the  people  Monsieur  le  Oris — 
old  curmudgeon.  But  what  nobody  could  fail  to  observe, 
were  the  interminable  hours  he  would  sometimes  spend, 
seated  on  the  parapet  of  the  Parvis,  lost  in  contemplation  of 
the  statues ;  now  looking  fixedly  at  the  Foolish  Virgins  with 
their  overturned  lamps,  now  at  the  Wise  Virgins  with  their 
lamps  upright ;  at  other  times  calculating  the  angle  of  vision 
of  that  raven  perched  on  the  left  side  of  the  central  door  and 
peering  at  a  mysterious  point  inside  the  church,  where  most 
certainly  the  philosopher's  stone  is  hidden,  if  it  is  not  in 
Nicolas  Flamel's  cellar. 

It  was  a  singular  destiny,  we  may  remark  in  passing,  for 
the  Cathedral  of  Notre-Dame  to  be  thus  beloved  in  different 
degrees  and  with  so  much  devotion  by  two  creatures  so  utterly 
dissimilar  as  Claude  Frollo  and  Quasimodo ;  loved  by  the  one 

IS8 


Further  Particulars  of  Claude  Frollo 

—rudimentary,  instinctive,  savage — for  its  beauty,  its  lofty 
stature,  the'  Harmonies  that  flowed  from  its  magnificent 
ensemble;  loved  by  the  other — a  being  of  cultured  and  per- 
fervid  imagination — for  its  significance,  its  mystical  meaning, 
tlTe"'^ymboHc  language  lurking  under  the  sculptures  of  its 
facade,  like  the  first  manuscript  under  the  second  in  a  palimp- 
sest— in  a  word,  for  the  enigma  it  eternally  propounded  to 
the  inteHigence. 

Furthermore,  it  is  certain  that  in  one  of  the  towers  which 
overlooks  the  Greve,  close  by  the  cage  of  the  bells,  the  Arch- 
deacon had  fitted  up  for  himself  a  little  cell  of  great  secrecy, 
into  which  no  one  ever  entered— not  even  the  Bishop,  without 
his  leave.  This  cell  had  been  constructed  long  ago,  almost 
at  the  summit  of  the  tower  among  the  crows'  nests,  by  Bishop 
Hugh  of  Besangon,*  who  had  played  the  necromancer  there 
in  his  time.  What  this  cell  contained  nobody  knew;  but  on 
many  a  night  from  the  shore  of  the  terrain,  from  which 
a  little  round  window  at  the  back  of  the  tower  was  visible, 
an  unaccountable,  intermittent  red  glow  might  be  seen,  com- 
ing and  going  at  regular  intervals,  as  if  in  response  to  the 
blowing  of  a  pair  of  bellows,  and  as  if  it  proceeded  rather 
from  a  flame  than  a  light.  In  the  darkness,  and  at  that  height, 
the  effect  was  very  singular,  and  the  old  wives  would  say, 
"  There's  the  Archdeacon  blowing  his  bellows  again !  Hell- 
fire  is  blazing  up  there  1 " 

After  all,  these  were  no  great  proofs  of  sorcery;  but  still 
there  was  sufficient  smoke  to  warrant  the  supposition  of  flame, 
and  the  Archdeacon  therefore  stood  in  decidedly  bad  odour. 
And  yet  we  are  bound  to  say  that  the  occult  sciences,  that 
necromancy,  magic — even  of  the  whitest  and  most  innocent — 
had  no  more  virulent  foe,  no  more  merciless  denouncer  before 
the  Holy  Office  of  Notre-Dame  than  himself.  Whether  this 
abhorrence  was  sincere,  or  merely  the  trick  of  the  pickpocket 
who  cries  "  Stop  thief !  "  it  did  not  prevent  the  learned  heads 
of  the  Chapter  regarding  him  as  a  soul  adventuring  into  the 
very  fore-court  of  hell,  lost  among  the  holes  and  underground 
workings  of  the  Cabala,  groping  in  the  baleful  gloom  of 
occult  science.     The  people,  of  course,  were  not  to  be  hood- 

*  Hugo  II  de  Bisuncio,  1326-1332. — ^Author's  note. 
^  159  Vol.  4 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

winked  for  a  moment — any  one  with  a  grain  of  sense  could 
see  that  Quasimodo  was  a  demon,  and  Claude  Froilp  ^  a 
sorcerer;  and  it  was  patent  that  the  bell-ringer  was  bound  to 
the  Archdeacon  for  a  certain  time,  after  which  he  would  carry 
off  his  master's  soul  in  guise  of  payment.  Consequently,  in 
spite  of  the  excessive  austerity  of  his  life,  the  Archdeacon 
was  in  bad  repute  with  all  pious  people,  and  there  was  no 
devout  nose,  however  inexperienced,  that  did  not  smell  out 
the  wizard  in  him. 

Yet,  if  with  advancing  years  deep  fissures  had  opened  in 
his  mind,  in  his  heart  they  were  no  less  deep.  So,  at  least, 
they  had  reason  to  think  who  narrowly  scanned  that  face  in 
which  the  soul  shone  forth  as  through  a  murky  cloud. 
Else  why  that  bald  and  furrowed  brow,  that  constantly  bowed 
head,  those  sighs  that  forever  rent  his  breast?  What  secret 
thought  sent  that  bitter  smile  to  his  lips  at  the  selfsame 
moment  that  his  frowning  brows  approached  each  other  like 
two  bulls  about  to  fight?  Why  were  his  remaining  hairs 
already  gray?  Whence  came  that  inward  fire  that  blazed  at 
times  in  his  eyes,  till  they  looked  like  holes  pierced  in  the 
wall  of  a  furnace? 

These  symptoms  of  violent  moral  preoccupation  had  de- 
veloped to  an  extraordinary  degree  of  intensity  at  the  period 
of  our  narrative.  More  than  once  had  a  chorister  boy  fled 
in  terror  when  coming  upon  him  suddenly  in  the  Cathedral, 
so  strange  and  piercing  was  his  gaze.  More  than  once,  at 
the  hour  of  service,  had  the  occupant  of  the  next  stall  in  the 
choir  heard  him  interspersing  the  plain  song,  #d  omnem  tonuni, 
with  unintelligible  parentheses.  More  than  once  had  the 
laundress  of  the  ferroiu,  whose  duty  it  was  to  "  wash  the 
Chapter,"  noticed  with  alarm  the  marks  of  finger-nails  and 
clinched  hands  in  the  surplice  of  Monsieur  the  Archdeacon 
of  Josas. 

However,  he  grew  doubly  austere,  and  his  life  had  never 
been  more  exemplary.  By  inclination,  as  well  as  by  calling,  he 
had  always  kept  severely  aloof  from  women ;  now  he  seemed 
to  hate  them  more  virulently  than  ever.  The  mere  rustle  of  a 
silken  kirtle  was  sufficient  to  make  him  bring  his  cowl  down 
over  his  eyes.  So  jealous  were  his  reserve  and  his  austerity 
on  this  point,  that  when  the  King's  daughter,  the  Lady  of 

1 60 


Unpopularity 


Beaujeii,  came  in  December,  1481,  to  visit  the  cloister  of 
Notre-Dame,  he  earnestly  opposed  her  admittance,  reminding 
the  Bishop  of  the  statute  in  the  Black  Book,  dated  Saint- 
Bartholomew's  Eve,  1334,  forbidding  access  to  the  cloister 
to  every  woman  whatsoever,  "  young  or  old,  mistress  or 
serving-maid."  Upon  which  the  Bishop  had  been  constrained 
to  quote  the  ordinance  of  the  legate  Odo,  which  makes  excep- 
tion in  favour  of  "  certain  ladies  of  high  degree,  who  might 
not  be  turned  away  without  offence " — "  aliqucE  magnates 
mulieres,  quce  sine  scandale  vitari  non  possimt."  But  the  Arch- 
deacon persisted  in  his  protest,  objecting  that  the  legate's 
ordinance,  dating  from  as  far  back  as  1207,  was  anterior  to 
the  Black  Book  by  a  hundred  and  twenty-seven  years,  and 
thus  practically  abrogated  by  it,  and  he  refused  to  appear 
before  the  princess. 

It  was,  moreover,  noticed  that,  for  some  time  past,  his 
horror  of  gipsy-women  and  all  Zingari  in  general  had  re- 
markably increased.  He  had  solicited  from  the  Bishop  an 
edict  expressly  forbidding  gipsies  to  dance  or  play  the  tam- 
bourine within  the  Parvis  of  the  Cathedral ;  and  simultane- 
ously he  was  rummaging  among  the  musty  archives  of  the 
Holy  Office,  in  order  to  collect  all  the  cases  of  necromancers 
and  sorcerers  condemned  to  the  flames  or  the  halter  for  com- 
plicity in  witchcraft  with  sows,  he,  or  she-goats. 


VI 

UNPOPULARITY 


The  Archdeacon  and  the  bell-ringer  found,  as  we  have 
said  before,  but  little  favour  with  the  people,  great  or  small, 
in  the  purlieus  of  the  Cathedral.  If  Claude  and  Quasimodo 
went  abroad,  as  occasionally  happened,  and  they  were  seen 
in  company — the  servant  following  his  master — traversing  the 
chilly,  narrow,  and  gloomy  streets  in  the  vicinity  of  Notre- 
Dame,  many  an  abusive  word,  many  a  mocking  laugh  or 
opprobrious  gibe  would  harass  them  on  their  passage  unless 

161 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Claude  Frollo — though  this  was  rare — walked  with  head  erect 
and  haughty  bearing,  offering  a  stern  and  well-nigh  imperial 
front  to  the  startled  gaze  of  his  assailants. 

The  couple  shared  in  the  neighbourhood  the  fate  of  those 
poets  of  whom  Regnier  says : 

"  Toutes  sorles  de  gens  vont  apres  les  poetes, 
Comme  apres  les  hiboux  vont  criant  les  fauvettes."  * 

Now  some  ill-conditioned  monkey  would  risk  his  skin  and 
bones  for  the  ineffable  pleasure  of  sticking  a  pin  in  Quasi- 
modo's hump,  or  some  pretty  wench,  with  more  freedom  and 
impudence  than  was  seemly,  would  brush  the  priest's  black 
robe,  thrusting  her  face  into  his,  while  she  sang  the  naughty 
song  beginning: 

"  Niche,  niche,  le  diable  est  pris  !  "  f 

Anon,  a  group  of  squalid  old  women,  crouching  in  the 
shade  on  the  steps  of  a  porch,  would  abuse  the  Archdeacon 
and  the  bell-ringer  roundly  as  they  passed,  or  hurl  after  them 
with  curses  the  flattering  remark :  "  There  goes  one  whose 
soul  is  like  the  other  one's  body !  "  Or,  another""  time,  it 
would  be  a  band  of  scholars  playing  at  marbles  or  hop- 
scotch who  would  rise  in  a  body  and  salute  them  in  classical 
manner,  with  some  Latin  greeting  such  as  "  Eia!  Eia! 
Claudius  cum  claudo!"  X 

But,  as  a  rule,  these  amenities  passed  unheeded  by  either 
the  priest  or  the  bell-ringer.  Quasimodo  was  too  deaf,  and 
Claude  too  immersed  in  thought  to  hear  them. 

*  All  sorts  of  people  run  after  the  poets, 

As  after  the  owls  fly  screaming  the  linnets. 
f  Hide,  hide,  the  devil  is  caught! 
I  Ho  !  ho  !  Claude  with  the  cripple  ! 


162 


BOOK   V 


THE   ABBOT   OF   SAINT-MARTIN's 

The  fame  of  Dom  Claude  Frollo  had  spread  abroad.  To 
it,  just  about  the  time  of  his  refusal  to  encounter  the  Lady 
of  Beaujeu,  he  owed  a  visit  which  remained  long  in  his 
memory. 

It  happened  one  evening.  Claude  had  just  retired  after 
the  evening  office  to  his  canonical  cell  in  the  cloister  of  Notre- 
Dame.  Beyond  a  few  glass  phials  pushed  away  into  a  corner 
and  containing  some  powder  which  looked  suspiciously  like 
an  explosive,  the  cell  had  nothing  noteworthy  or  mysterious 
about  it.  Here  and  there  were  some  inscriptions  on  the 
walls,  but  they  consisted  purely  of  learned  axioms  or  pious 
extracts  from  worthy  authors.  The  Archdeacon  had  just 
seated  himself  at  a  huge  oak  chest  covered  with  manuscripts, 
and  lighted  by  a  three-armed  brass  lamp.  He  leaned  his 
elbow  on  an  open  tome :  Honorius  of  Autun's  De  prcBdestina- 
iione  et  libera  arbitrio*  while  he  musingly  turned  over  the 
leaves  of  a  printed  folio  he  had  just  brought  over,  the  sole 
production  of  the  printing-press  which  stood  in  his  cell.  His 
reverie  was  broken  by  a  knock  at  the  door. 

"Who's  there?"  called  the  scholar  in  the  friendly  tone 
of  a  famished  dog  disturbed  over  a  bone. 

"  A  friend — Jacques  Coictier,"  answered  a  voice  outside. 

He  rose  and  opened  the  door. 

It  was,  in  fact,  the  King's  physician,  a  man  of  some 
fifty  years,  the  hardness  of  whose  expression  was  somewhat 

*  0/  Predestination  and  Free-  Will, 
163 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

mitigated  by  a  look  of  great  cunning.  He  was  accompanied 
by  another  man.  Both  wore  long,  slate-gray,  squirrel-lined 
robes,  fastened  from  top  to  bottom  and  belted  round  the 
middle,  and  caps  of  the  same  stuff  and  colour.  Their  hands 
disappeared  in  their  sleeves,  their  feet  under  their  robes,  and 
their  eyes  under  their  caps. 

"  God  save  me,  messire !  "  said  the  Archdeacon,  as  he 
admitted  them ;  "  I  was  far  from  expecting  so  flattering  a 
visit  at  this  late  hour."  And  while  he  spoke  thus  courte- 
ously, he  glanced  suspiciously  and  shrewdly  from  the  physi- 
cian to  his  companion. 

"  It  is  never  too  late  to  pay  a  visit  to  so  eminent  a  scholar 
as  Dom  Claude  Frollo  of  Tirechappe,"  replied  Doctor  Coic- 
tier,  whose  Burgundian  accent  let  his  sentences  trail  along 
with  all  the  majestic  effect  of  a  long-trained  robe. 

The  physician  and  the  Archdeacon  then  embarked  upon 
one  of  those  congratulatory  prologues  with  which,  at  that 
period,  it  was  customary  to  usher  in  every  conversation  be- 
tween scholars,  which  did  not  prevent  them  most  cordially 
detesting  one  another.  For  the  rest,  it  is  just  the  same 
to-day ;  the  mouth  of  every  scholar  who  compliments  another 
is  a  vessel  full  of  honeyed  gall. 

The  felicitations  addressed  by  Claude  to  Jacques  Coictier 
alluded  chiefly  to  the  numerous  material  advantages  the 
worthy  physician  had  succeeded  in  extracting,  in  the  course 
of  his  much-envied  career,  from  each  illness  of  the  King — 
a  surer  and  more  profitable  kind  of  alchemy  than  the  pursuit 
of  the  philosopher's  stone. 

"  Truly,  Doctor  Coictier,  I  was  greatly  rejoiced  to  learn 
of  the  promotion  of  your  nephew,  my  reverend  Superior, 
Pierre  Verse,  to  a  bishopric.  He  is  made  Bishop  of  Amiens, 
is  he  not?  " 

"  Yes,  Monsieur  the  Archdeacon,  it  is  a  gracious  and 
merciful  gift  of  the  Lord." 

"  Let  me  tell  you  you  made  a  brave  show  on  Christmas- 
day  at  the  head  of  your  company  of  the  Chamber  of  Account- 
ants, Monsieur  the  President." 

"  Vice-President,  Dom  Claude.     Alas !  nothing  more." 

"  How  fares  it  with  your  superb  mansion  in  the  Rue 
Saint-Andry  des  Arcs  ?     It  is  in  very  truth  a  Louvre !     And 

^      164 


The  Abbot  of  Saint-Martin's 

I  am  much  taken  by  the  apricot-tree  sculptured  on  the  door, 
with  the  pleasant  play  of  words  inscribed  beneath  it,  '  A 
l'Abri-Cotier,'  " 

"  Well,  well,  Maitre  Claude,  all  this  masons'  work  costs 
me  dearly.  In  the  same  measure  as  my  house  rises  higher, 
my  funds  sink  lower." 

"  Oho !  Have  you  not  your  revenues  from  the  jail,  and 
the  provostship  of  the  Palais  de  Justice,  and  the  rents  from 
all  the  houses,  workshops,  booths,  and  market-stalls  within 
the  circuit  of  Paris?     That  is  surely  an  excellent  milch  cow." 

"  My  castellany  of  Poissy  has  not  brought  me  in  a  sou 
this  year." 

"  But  your  toll  dues  at  Triel,  Saint- James,  and  Saint- 
Germain-en-Laye — they  are  always  profitable  ?  " 

"  Six  times  twenty  livres  only,  and  not  even  Paris  money 
at  that." 

"  But  you  have  your  appointment  as  Councillor  to  the 
King — that  means  a  fixed  salary  surely  ?  " 

"  Yes,  Colleague  Claude,  but  that  cursed  Manor  of 
Poligny,  they  make  such  a  coil  about,  is  not  worth  more  to 
me  than  sixty  gold  crowns — taking  one  year  with  another." 

The  compliments  which  Dom  Claude  thus  addressed  to 
Jacques~~Gotctier  were^utfered  in  that  tone  of  veiled,  bitter, 
sar3oi^lc^allTery7~^vltT^  that  grievous,  yet  cruel,  smile  of  a 
superlorand  unfortunate  man,  who  seeks  a  moment's  distrac- 
tion in  playing  on  the  gross  vanity  of  the  vulgarly  prosperous 
man.     The  other  was  quite  unconscious  of  it. 

"  By  my  soul !  "  said  Claude  at  last,  pressing  his  hand, 
"  I  rejoice  to  see  you  in  such  excellent  health." 

"  Thank  you,  Maitre  Claude." 

"  Speaking  of  health,"  cried  Dom  Claude,  "  how  is  your 
royal  patient  ?  " 

"  He  does  not  pay  his  doctor  suf^ciently  well,"  said  the 
physician  with  a  side  glance  at  his  companion. 

"Do  you  really  think  that,  friend  Coictier?"  said  the 
stranger. 

These  words,  uttered  in  a  tone  of  surprise  and  reproach, 
recalled  the  Archdeacon's  attention  to  the  stranger's  presence, 
though,  to  tell  the  truth,  he  had  never,  from  the  moment  he 
crossed  the  threshold,  quite  turned  away  from  this  unknown 

I6S 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

gtiest.  Indeed,  it  required  the  thousand  reasons  Claude  had 
for  humouring  the  all-powerful  physician  of  Louis  XI  to 
make  him  consent  to  receive  him  thus  accompanied.  There- 
fore, his  expression  was  none  of  the  friendliest  when  Jacques 
Coictier  said  to  him : 

"  By-the-bye,  Dom  Claude,  I  have  brought  a  colleague, 
who  was  most  desirous  of  seeing  one  of  whom  he  has  heard 
so  much." 

"Monsieur  is  a  scholar?"  asked  the  Archdeacon,  fixing 
Coictier's  companion  with  a  penetrating  eye.  But  from  under 
the  brows  of  the  rtranger  he  met  a  glance  not  less  keen  or 
less  suspicious  than  his  own. 

He  was,  so  far  as  one  could  judge  by  the  feeble  rays  of 
the  lamp,  a  man  of  about  sixty,  of  middle  height,  and  appar- 
ently ailing  and  broken.  His  face,  although  the  features  were 
sufficiently  commonplace,  had  something  commanding  and 
severe ;  his  eye  glittered  under  the  deep  arch  of  his  brow 
like  a  beacon-light  far  down  a  cavern ;  and  under  the  cap, 
pulled  down  almost  to  his  nose,  one  divined  instinctively  the 
broad  forehead  of  a  genius. 

He  took  upon  himself  to  answer  the  archdeacon's  inquiry. 

"  Reverend  sir,"  said  he  in  grave  tones,  "  your  fame  has 
reached  me,  and  I  was  desirous  of  consulting  you.  I  am 
but  a  poor  gentleman  from  the  provinces  who  takes  the 
shoes  ofif  his  feet  before  entering  the  presence  of  the  learned. 
I  must  acquaint  you  with  my  name :  they  call  me  Compere  * 
Tourangeau." 

"  Singular  name  for  a  gentleman,"  thought  the  Arch- 
deacon. Nevertheless,  he  felt  himself  in  the  presence  of 
something  powerful  and  commanding.  The  instinct  of  his 
high  intelligence  led  him  to  suspect  one  no  less  high  beneath 
the  fur-trimmed  cap  of  Compere  Tourangeau ;  and  as  he 
scrutinized  that  quiet  figure,  the  sneering  smile  that  twitched 
round  the  corners  of  his  morose  mouth  as  he  talked  to  Coictier 
faded  slowly  away,  like  the  sunset  glow  from  an  evening  sky. 

He  had  seated  himself  again,  gloomy  and  silent,  in  his 
great  arm-chair,  his  elbow  had  resumed  its  accustomed  place 
on  the  table,  his  head  leaning  on  his  hand. 

*  Goodman,  gossip. 

i66 


The  Abbot  of  Saint-Martin's 

After  a  few  moments  of  deep  reflection,  he  signed  to  his 
two  visitors  to  be  seated,  and  then  addressed  himself  to  Com- 
pere Tourangeau. 

"  You  came  to  consult  me,  sir,  and  on  what  subject?  " 

"  Your  Reverence,"  answered  Tourangeau,  "  I  am  sick, 
very  sick.  Rumour  says  you  are  a  great  ^sculapius,  and  I 
am  come  to  ask  your  advice  as  to  a  remedy." 

"  A  remedy  !  "  exclaimed  the  Archdeacon,  shaking  his  head. 
He  seemed  to  consider  for  a  moment,  and  then  resumed  • 
"  Compere  Tourangeau — since  that  is  your  name — turn  your 
head.     You  will  find  my  answer  written  on  the  wall." 

Tourangeau  did  as  he  was  bid,  and  read  the  following 
inscription  on  the  wall,  above  his  head :  "Medicine  is  the  daugh- 
ter of  dreams. — Iamblichus." 

Doctor  Jacques  Coictier  had  listened  to  his  companion's 
question  with  a  vexation  which  Dom  Claude's  answer  only 
served  to  increase.  He  now  leaned  over  to  Tourangeau  and 
whispered,  too  low  for  the  Archdeacon's  ear :  "  Did  I  gcLLwarn 
you  that  he  was  a  crack-brained  fool?  You  were  set  upon 
seeing  him." 

"  But  it  might  very  well  be  that  he  is  right  in  his  opinion, 
this  madman,  Doctor  Jacques,"  returned  his  friend  in  the 
same  tone,  and  with  a  bitter  smile. 

"  Just  as  you  please,"  answered  Coictier  dryly.  "  You 
are  very  quick  in  your  decision,  Dom  Claude,  and  Hippoc- 
rates apparently  presents  no  more  difficulties  to  you  than  a 
nut  to  a  monkey.  Medicine  a  dream !  I  doubt  if  the  apothe- 
caries and  doctors,  were  they  here,  could  refrain  from  stoning 
you.  So  you  deny  the  influence  of  philters  on  the  blood,  of 
unguents  on  the  flesh?  You  deny  the  existence  of  that 
eternal  pharmacy  of  flowers  and  metals  which  we  call  the 
World,  created  expressly  for  the  benefit  of  that  eternal  invalid 
we  call  Man !  " 

"  I_  deny  the  existence,"  answered  Dom  Claude  coldly, 
"  neither  oT  the  pharmacy  nor  the  invalid.  I  deny  that  of 
the  physician." 

"  Then,  I  presume  it  is  not  true,"  Coictier  went  on  with 
rising  heat,  *'  that  gout  is  an  internal  eruption ;  that  a  shot- 
wound  may  be  healed  by  the  outward  application  of  a  roasted 
mouse ;  that  young  blood,  injected  in  suitable  quantities,  will 

167 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

restore  youth  to  aged  veins ;  it  is  not  true  that  two  and  two 
make  four,  and  that  emprosthotonos  follows  upon  opis- 
thotonos? " 

"  There  are  certain  matters  about  which  I  think  in  a 
certain  way,"  the  Archdeacon  replied  vmmoved. 

Coictier  flushed  an  angry  red. 

"  Come,  come,  my  good  Coictier,  do  not  let  us  get  angry," 
said  Compere  Tourangeau,  "  the  reverend  Archdeacon  is 
our  host." 

Coictier  calmed  down,  but  growled  to  himself :  "  He's 
a  madman,  for  all  that." 

"  Pas  que  Dieu!"  resumed  Tourangeau,  after  a  short 
silence ;  "  you  put  me  in  a  very  embarrassing  position,  Maitre 
Claude.  I  looked  to  obtaining  two  opinions  from  you,  one 
as  to  my  health,  the  other  as  to  my  star." 

"  Monsieur,"  returned  the  Archdeacon,  "  if  that  is  your 
idea,  you  would  have  done  better  not  to  waste  your  health 
in  mounting  my  stairs.     I_do  not  believe  in  medicine,  and  I_ 
do  not  believe  in  astrology."  "'  "  ^^n_;(-4f  ilMeU-t<i'i»o4h 

"  Is  that  so?"  exclaimed  the  good  man  in  surprise.     '  "'   '   '' 

Coictier  burst  into  a  forced  laugh. 

"  You  must  admit  now  that  he's  mad,"  he  said  in  low 
tones  to  Tourangeau ;  "  he  does  not  believe  in  astrology." 

"  How   can   any   one   possibly   believe,"    continued    Dom 
(^laude,   "  that   every  ray  of  a   star  is  a  thread  attached  to 
a  man's  head  ?  " 

"  And  what  do  you  believe  in  then  ?  "  cried  Tourangeau. 

The  Archdeacon  hesitated  for  a  moment,  then,  with  a 
sombre  smile  which  seemed  to  give  the  lie  to  his  words,  he 
answered,  "  Credo  in  Deum." 

"  Dominum  nostrum,"  added  Tourangeau,  making  the  sign 
of  the  cross. 

"  Amen,"  said  Coictier. 

"  Reverend  sir,"  resumed  Tourangeau,  "  I  am  charmed  to 
my  soul  to  find  you  so  firm  in  the  faith.  But,  erudite  scholar 
that  you  are,  have  you  reached  the  point  of  no  longer  believ- 
ing in  science?  " 

"  No !  "  cried  the  Archdeacon,  grasping  Tourangeau's  arm, 
while  a  gleam  of  enthusiasm  flashed  in  his  sunken  eye ;  "  no, 
I  do  not  deny  science.     I  have  not  crawled  so  long  on  my 

i68 


The  Abbot  of  Saint-Martin's 

belly  with  my  nails  dug  in  the  earth  through  all  the  innu- 
merable windings  of  that  dark  mine,  without  perceiving  in  the 
far  distance — at  the  end  of  the  dim  passage — a  light,  a  flame, 
a  something;  the  reflection,  no  doubt,  from  that  dazzling 
central  laboratory  in  which  the  patient  and  the  wise  have 
come  upon  God." 

"  And  finally,"  interrupted  Tourangeau,  "  what  do  you 
hold  for  true  and  certain?"  .  i^i. 

Alchemy  !" --^ '-' --^    ^  ■<■•■'■  '-^  .^.  .,'j 

Coictier  exclaimed  aloud,  "  Pardicn,  Dom  Claude,  there 
is_  doubtless  much  truth  in  alchemy,  but  wliy  blaspheme 
against  medicine  and  astrology?" 

^TSIulI  is  your  science  of  man,  your  science  of  the  heavens 
nullj,'  said  the  Archdeacon  imperiously. 

"  But  that's  dealing  hardly  with  Epidaurus  and  Chaldea," 
returned  the  physician  with  a  sneering  laugh. 

"  Listen,  Messire  Jacques.  I  speak  in  all  good  faith.  I 
am  not  physician  to  the  King,  and  his  Majesty  did  not  give 
me  a  Labyrinth  in  which  to  observe  the  constellations.  Nay, 
be  not  angry,  but  listen  to  what  I  say:  what  truths  have  you 
extracted  from  the  study — I  will  not  say  of  medicine,  which  is 
too  foolish  a  matter — but  froni  astrology  ?  Explain  to  me  the 
virtues  of  the  vertical  boustrophedon,*  or  the  treasures  con- 
tained in  the  numeral  ziruph,  and  in  those  of  the  numeral 
zephirod." 

"  Will  you  deny,"  said  Coictier,  "  the  sympathetic  influ- 
ence of  the  clavicula,  and  that  it  is  the  key  to  all  caba- 
listic science?  " 

"Errors,  Messire  Jacques!  None  of  your  formulas  have 
anything  definite  to  show,  whereas  alchemy  has  its  actual 
discoveries.  Can  you  contest  such  results  as  these,  for 
instance- — ice,  buried  underground  for  two  thousand  years, 
is  converted  into  rock  cr>rtal ;  lead  is  the  progenitor  of  all 
metals  (for  gold  is  not  a  metal,  gold  is  light) ;  lead  requires 
but  four  periods  of  two  hundred  years  each  to  pass  succes- 
sively from  the  condition  of  lead  to  that  of  red  arsenic,  from 
red  arsenic  to  tin,  from  tin  to  silver.     Are  these  facts,  or  are 

*  Writing  from  right  to  left  and  back  again  from  left  to  right  without 
breaking  off  the  lines. 

169 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

they  not?  But  to  believe  in  the  clavicula,  in  the  mystic 
significance  of  the  junction  of  two  hnes,  in  the  stars,  is  as 
ridiculous  as  to  believe,  like  the  inhabitants  of  Cathay,  that 
the  oriole  changes  into  a  mole,  and  grains  of  wheat  into 
carp-like  fish." 

"  I  have  studied  hermetics,"  cried  Coictier,  "  and  I 
affirm " 

The  impetuous  Archdeacon  would  not  let  him  finish. 
"  And  I — I  have  studied  medicine,  astrology,  and  hermetics. 
Here  alone  is  truth  "  (and  as  he  spoke  he  took  up  one  of 
those  phials  of  glass  of  which  mention  has  been  made),  "  here 
alone  is  light !  Hippocrates — a  dream ;  Urania — a  dream ; 
Hermes — a  phantasm.  Gold  is  the  sun ;  to  make  gold  is  to  be 
God.  There  is  the  one  and  only  science.  I  have  sounded  med- 
icine and  astrology  to  their  depths — null,  I  tell  you — null  and 
void  !    The  human  body^darkness  1  the  stars — darkness !  " 

He  sank  into  his  chair  with  a  compelling  and  inspired 
gesture.  Tourangeau  observed  him  in  silence  ;  Coictier  forced 
a  disdainful  laugh,  shrugging  his  shoulders  imperceptibly  while 
he  repeated  under  his  breath,  "  Madman." 

"  Well,"  said  Tourangeau  suddenly,  "  and  the  transcen- 
dental result — have  you  achieved  it?  Have  you  succeeded 
in  making  gold  ?  " 

"  If  I  had,"  answered  the  Archdeacon,  dropping  his  words 
slowly  like  a  man  in  a  reverie,  "  the  name  of  the  King  of 
France  would  be  Claude  and  not  Louis." 

Tourangeau  bent  his  brow. 

"  Pah,  what  am  I  saying?"  resumed  Dom  Claude  with  a 
disdainful  smile.  "  What  would  the  throne  of  France  be  to 
me  when  I  could  reconstruct  the  Empire  of  the  East  ?  " 

"  Well  done !  "  exclaimed  Tourangeau. 

"  Poor  ass !  "  murmured  Coictier. 

"  No,"  the  Archdeacon  went  o'^,  as  if  in  answer  to  his  own 
thoughts,  "  I  am  still  crawling,  still  bruising  my  face  and  my 
knees  against  the  stones  of  the  subterranean  path.  Fitful 
glimpses  I  catch,  but  nothing  clear.  I  cannot  read — I  am 
but  conning  the  alphabet." 

"  And  when  you  have  learned  to  read,  will  you  be  able 
to  make  gold  ?  " 

"Who  doubts  it?"  answered  the  Archdeacon. 

170 


The  Abbot  of  Saint-Martin's 

"  In  that  case — Our  Lady  knows  I  am  in  dire  need  of 
money — I  would  gladly  learn  to  read  in  your  books.  Tell 
me,  reverend  master,  is  not  your  science  inimical  and  dis- 
pleasing to  Our  Lady,  think  you  ?  " 

To  this  question  of  Tourangeau's  Dom  Claude  contented 
himself  by  making  answer  with  quiet  dignity,  "  Whose 
priest  am  I  ?  " 

"  True,  true,  master.  Well,  then,  will  it  please  you  to 
initiate  me  ?     Let  me  learn  to  spell  with  you  ?  " 

Claude  assumed  the  majestic  and  sacerdotal  attitude  of  a 
Samuel. 

"  Old  man,  it  would  require  more  years  than  yet  remain 
to  you  to  undertake  this  journey  across  the  world  of  mystery. 
Your  head  is  very  gray !  One  emerges  from  the  cave  with 
white  hair,  but  one  must  enter  it  with  black.  Science  knows 
very  well  how  to  furrow  and  wither  up  the  face  of  man  without 
assistance ;  she  has  no  need  that  age  should  bring  to  her 
faces  that  are  already  wrinkled.  Nevertheless,  if  you  are 
possessed  by  the  desire  to  put  yourself  under  tutelage  at 
your  age,  and  to  decipher  the  awful  alphabet  of  Wisdom, 
well  and  good,  come  to  me,  I  will  do  what  I  can.  I  will  not 
bid  you,  poor  graybeard,  go  visit  the  sepulchral  chambers  of 
the  Pyramids,  of  which  the  ancient  Herodotus  speaks,  nor 
the  brick  tower  of  Babylon,  nor  the  vast  marble  sanctuary 
of  the  Indian  Temple  of  Eklinga.  I  have  not  seen,  any  more 
than  you  have,  the  Chaldean  walls  built  in  accordance  with 
the  sacred  formula  of  Sikra,  nor  the  Temple  of  Solomon 
which  was  destroyed,  nor  the  stone  doors  of  the  sepulchres 
of  the  Kings  of  Israel  which  are  broken  in  pieces.  Such 
fragments  of  the  Book  of  Hermes  as  we  have  here  will  suffice 
us.  I  will  explain  to  you  the  statue  of  Saint-Christopher,  the 
symbol  of  the  Sower,  and  that  of  the  two  angels  in  the  door 
of  the  Sainte-Chapelle,  of  whom  one  has  his  hand  in  a  stone 
vessel,  and  the  other  in  a  cloud." 

Here  Jacques  Coictier,  who  had  been  quite  confounded 
by  the  Archdeacon's  tempestuous  flow  of  eloquence,  recov- 
ered his  composure  and  struck  in  with  the  triumphant  tone 
of  one  scholar  setting  another  right : 

"  Erras,  amice  Clatidi — there  you  are  in  error.  The  symbol 
is  not  the  numeral.     You  mistake  Orpheus  for  Hermes." 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  It  is  you  who  are  in  error,"  returned  the  Archdeacon 
with  dignit}' ;  "  Daedalus  is  the  foundation ;  Orpheus  is  the 
wall ;  Hermes  is  the  edifice — the  whole  structure.  Come 
whenever  it  please  you,"  he  continued,  turning  to  Touran- 
geau.  "  I  will  show  you  the  particles  of  gold  left  in  the 
bottom  of  Nicolas  Flamel's  crucible  wdiich  you  can  com- 
pare with  the  gold  of  Guillaume  de  Paris.  I  will  instruct 
you  in  the  secret  virtues  of  the  Greek  word  peristera.  But 
before  all  things,  you  shall  read,  one  after  another,  the  letters 
of  the  marble  alphabet,  the  pages  of  the  granite  book.  We 
will  go  from  the  doorway  of  Bishop  Guillaume  and  of  Saint- 
Jean  le  Rond  to  the  Sainte-Chapelle,  then  to  the  house  of 
Nicolas  Flamel  in  the  Rue  Marivault,  to  his  tomb  in  the 
cemetery  of  the  Holy  Innocents,  to  his  two  hospices  in  the 
Rue  de  Montmorency.  You  shall  read  the  hieroglyphics 
with  which  the  four  great  iron  bars  in  the  porch  of  the 
Hospice  of  Saint-Gervais  are  covered.  Together  we  will 
spell  out  the  fagades  of  Saint-Come,  of  Sainte-Genevieve-des- 
Ardents,  Saint-Martin,  Saint-Jacques-de-la-Boucherie " 

For  some  time  past,  Tourangeau,  with  all  his  intelligence, 
appeared  unable  to  follow  Dom  Claude.     He  broke  in  now : 

"  Pasquc  Dicii!  but  what  are  these  books  of  yours?  " 

"  Here  is  one,"  replied  the  Archdeacon ;  and  opening  the 
window  of  his  cell,  he  pointed  to  the  mighty  Cathedral  of 
Notre-Dame,  the  black  silhouette  of  its  two  towers,  its  stone 
sides,  and  its  huge  roof  sharply  outlined  against  the  starry 
sky,  and  looking  like  an  enormous  two-headed  sphinx 
crouching  in  the  midst  of  the  city. 

For  some  moments  the  Archdeacon  contemplated  the 
gigantic  edifice  in  silence ;  then,  sighing  deeply,  he  pointed 
v^rith  his  right  hand  to  the  printed  book  lying  open  on  his 
table,  and  with  his  left  to  Notre-Dame,  and  casting  a  mournful 
glance  from  the  book  to  the  church : 

"  Alas !  "  he  said.     "  This  will  destroy  that." 

Coictier,  who  had  bent  eagerly  over  the  book,  could  not 
repress  an  exclamation  of  disappointment.  "  He !  but  what 
is  there  so  alarming  in  this?  Ghsso  in  Episfolas  Pauli. 
Norimbcrgcp,  Antonhis  Koburgcr,  1474.  That  is  not  new.  It 
is  a  book  of  Petrus  Lombardus,  the  Magister  Sententiarum. 
Do  you  mean  because  it  is  printed  ?  " 

172 


The  Abbot  of  Saint-Martin's 

"  You  have  said  it,"  returned  Claude,  who  stood  appar- 
ently absorbed  in  profound  meditation,  with  his  finger  on  the 
folio  which  had  issued  from  the  famous  printing-press  of 
Nuremberg.  Presently  he  uttered  these  dark  words  :  "  Woe  ! 
woe !  the  small  brings  down  the  great ;  a  tooth  triumphs  over 
a  whole  mass !  The  Nile  rat  destroys  the  crocodile,  the 
sword-fish  destroys  the  whale,  the  book  will  destroy  the 
edifice !  " 

The  curfew  of  the  cloister  rang  at  this  moment  as  Doctor 
Jacques  whispered  to  his  companion  his  everlasting  refrain 
of  "  He  is  mad !  "  To  which  the  companion  replied  this  time, 
"  I  believe  he  is.'' 

It  was  the  hour  after  which  no  stranger  might  remain  in 
the  cloister.     The  two  visitors  prepared  to  retire. 

"  Maitre,"  said  Compere  Tourangeau,  as  he  took  leave 
of  the  Archdeacon,  "  I  have  a  great  regard  for  scholars  and 
great  spirits,  and  I  hold  you  in  peculiar  esteem.  Come  to- 
morrow to  the  Palais  des  Tournelles,  and  ask  for  the  Abbot 
of  Saint-Martin  of  Tours." 

The  Archdeacon  returned  to  his  cell  dumfounded,  com- 
prehending at  last  who  the  personage  calling  himself  Com- 
pere Tourangeau  really  was :  for  he  called  to  mind  this  passage 
in  the  Charter  of  Saint-Martin  of  Tours :  Abbas,  beati  Martini, 
scilicet  Rex  Francice,  est  canoniciis  de  consuetudine  et  habet  par- 
vam  prcebendam  quam  habct  sanctus  Venantius,  et  debet  sedere 
in  sede  thesaiirii* 

It  is  asserted  that  from  that  time  onward  the  Archdeacon 
conferred  frequently  with  Louis  XI,  whenever  his  Majesty 
came  to  Paris,  and  that  the  King's  regard  for  Dom  Claude 
put  Olivier  le  Daim  and  Jacques  Coictier  quite  in  the  shade, 
the  latter  of  whom,  as  was  his  custom,  rated  the  King 
soundly  in  consequence. 


*  The  Abbot  of  Saint-Martin,  tha«t  is  to  say  the  King  of  France,  is 
canon,  according  to  custom,  and  has  the  small  benefice  which  Saint- 
Venantis  had,  and  shall  sit  in  the  seat  of  the  treasurer. 


173 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 
II 

THIS    WILL    DESTROY    THAT 

Our  fair  readers  must  forgive  us  if  we  halt  a  moment 
here  and  endeavour  to  unearth  the  idea  hidden  under  the 
Archdeacon's  enigmatical  words : 

"  This^jwill_destroy  That.  The  Book  will  destroy  the 
Edifice."  ""' 

~Tb  our  mind,  this  thought  has  two  aspects.  In  the  first 
place  it  was  a  view  pertaining  to  the  priest — it  was  the  terror 
of  the  ecclesiastic  before  a  new  ^rce — printing.  It  was  the 
servant  of  the  dim  sanctuary  scared  and  dazzled  by  the  light 
that  streamed  from  Gutenberg's  press.  It  was  the  pulpit  and 
the  manuscript,  the  spoken  and  the  written  word  quailing 
before  the  printed  word — something  of  the  stupefaction  of 
the  sparrow  at  beholding  the  Heavenly  Host  spread  their 
six  million  wings.  It  was  the  cry  of  the  prophet  who  already 
hears  the  far-off  roar  and  tumult  of  emancipated  humanity ; 
who,  gazing  into  the  future,  sees  intelligence  sapping  the 
foundations  of  faith,  opinion  dethroning  belief,  the  world 
shaking  ofif  the  yoke  of  Rome ;  the  prognostication  of  the 
philosopher  who  sees  human  thought  volatilized  by  the  press, 
evaporating  out  of  the  theocratic  receiver ;  the  terror  of  the 
besieged  soldier  gazing  at  the  steel  battering-ram  and  saying 
to  himself,  "  The  citadel  must  fall."  It  signified  that  one 
great  power  was  to  supplant  another  great  power.  It  meant, 
The  Printing-Press  will  destroy  the  Church. 
~^-But  underlying  this  thought — the  first  and  no  doubt  the 
less  complex  of  the  two — there  was,  in  our  opinion,  a  second, 
a  more  modern — a  corollary  to  the  former  idea,  less  on  the 
surface  and  more  likely  to  be  contested ;  a  view  fully  as 
philosophic,  but  pertaining  no  longer  exclusively  to  the  priest, 
but  to  the  scholar  and  the  artist  likewise.  .It  was  a  premoni- 
tion that  human  thought,  in  changing  its  outward  form,  was 
also  about  to  change  its  outward  mode  of  expression ;  that 
the  dominant  idea  of  each  generation  would,  in  future,  be 
embodied  in  a  new  material,  a  new  fashion ;  that  the  book 
of  stone,  so  solid  and  so  enduring,  was  to  give  way  to  the 

174 


This  Will  Destroy  That 

book  of  paper,  more  solid  and  more  enduring  still.  In  this 
respect  the  vague  formula  of  the  Archdeacon  had  a  second 
meaning — that  one  Art  would  dethrone  another  Art :  Printing 
will  destroy" Architecture, 

In  effect,  from  the  very  beginning  of  things  down  to  the 
fifteenth  century  of  the  Christian  era  inclusive,  architecture 
is  the  great  book  of  the  human  race,  man's  chief  means 
of  expressing  the  various  stages  of  his  development,  whether 
pliysical  or  mental. 

When  the  memory  of  the  primitive  races  began  to  be 
surcharged,  when  the  load  of  tradition  carried  about  by  the 
human  family  grew  so  heavy  and  disordered  that  the  word, 
naked  and  fleeting,  ran  danger  of  being  lost  by  the  way,  they 
transcribed  it  on  the  ground  by  the  most  visible,  the  most 
lasting,  and  at  the  same  time  most  natural  means.  They 
enclosed  each  tradition  in  a  monument. 

The  first  monuments  were  simply  squares  of  rock  "  which 
had  not  been  touched  by  iron,"  as  says  Moses.  Architecture 
began  like  all  writing.  It  was  first  an  alphabet.  A  stone  was 
planted  upright  and  it  was  a  letter,  and  each  letter  was  a 
hieroglyph,  and  on  every  hieroglyph  rested  a  group  of  ideas, 
like  the  capital  on  the  column.  Thus  did  the  primitive  races 
act  at  the  same  moment  over  the  entire  face  of  the  globe. 
One  finds  the  "  upright  stone  "  of  the  Celts  in  Asiatic  Siberia 
and  on  the  pampas  of  America. 

Presently  they  constructed  words.  Stone  was  laid  upon 
stone,  these  granite  syllables  were  coupled  together,  the  word 
essayed  some  combinations.  The  Celtic  dolmen  and  crom- 
lech, the  Etruscan  tumulus,  the  H^rew  galgal,  are  words — 
some  of  them,  the  tumulus  in  particular,  are  proper  names. 
Occasionally,  when  there  were  many  stones  and  a  vast  ex- 
panse of  ground,  they  wrote  a  sentence.  The  immense  mass 
of  stones  at  Karnac  is  already  a  complete  formula. 

Last  of  all  they  made  books.  Traditions  had  ended  by 
bringing  forth  symbols,  under  which  they  disappeared  like 
the  trunk  of  a  tree  under  its  foliage.  These  symbols,  in  which 
all  humanity  believed,  continued  to  grow  and  multiply,  becom- 
ing more  and  more  complex ;  the  primitive  monuments — 
themselves  scarcely  expressing  the  original  traditions,  and, 
hke  them,  simple,  rough-hewn,  and  planted  in  the  soil — no 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

longer  sufficed  to  contain  them :  they  overflowed  at  every 
point.  Of  necessity  the  symbol  must  expand  into  the  edifice. 
Architecture  followed  the  development  of  human  thought ; 
it  became  a  giant  with  a  thousand  heads,  a  thousand  arms, 
and  caught  and  concentrated  in  one  eternal,  visible,  tangible 
form  all  this  floating  symbolism.  While  Daedalus,  who  is 
strength,  was  measuring;  while  Orpheus,  who  is  intelligence, 
was  singing — the  pillar,  which  is  a  letter ;  the  arch,  which 
is  a  syllable ;  the  pyramid,  which  is  a  word,  set  in  motion 
at  once  by  a  law  of  geometry  and  a  law  of  poetry,  be- 
gan to  group  themselves  together,  to  combine,  to  blend,  to 
sink,  to  rise,  stood  side  by  side  on  the  ground,  piled  them- 
selves up  into  the  sky,  till,  to  the  dictation  of  the  prevail- 
ing idea  of  the  epoch,  they  had  written  these  marvellous 
books  which  ar  e  equally  marvellous  edifices :  the  Pagoda 
of  Eklinga,  the  Pyramids  of  Egypt,  and  the  Temple  of  Sol- 
omon. 

The  parent  idea,  the  Word,  was  not  only  contained  in  the 
foundation  of  these  edifices,  but  in  their  structure.  Solomon's 
Temple,  for  example,  was  not  simply  the  cover  of  the  sacred 
book,  it  was  the  sacred  book  itself.  On  each  of  its  con- 
centric enclosures  the  priest  might  read  the  Word  translated 
and  made  manifest  to  the  eye,  might  follow  its  transformations 
from  sanctuary  to  sanctuary,  till  at  last  he  could  lay  hold 
upon  it  in  its  final  tabernacle,  under  its  most  concrete  form, 
which  yet  was  architecture — the  Ark.  Thus  the  Word  was 
enclosed  in  the  edifice,  but  its  image  was  visible  on  its  outer 
covering,  like  the  human  figure  depicted  on  the  coffin  of 
a  mummy. 

Again,  not  only  the  structure  of  the  edifice  but  its_jitua- 
tion  revealed  the  idea  it  embodied.  According  as  the  thought 
to  be  expressed  was  gracious  or  sombre,  Greece  crowned  her 
mountains  with  temples  harmonious  to  the  eye ;  India  dis- 
embowelled herself  to  hew  out  those  massive  subterranean 
pagodas  which  are  supported  by  rows  of  gigantic  granite 
elephants. 

Thus,  during  the  first  six  thousand  years  of  the  world 
— from  the  most  immemorial  temple  of  Hindustan  to  the 
Cathedral  at  Cologne — architecture  has  been  the  great  manu- 
script of  the  human  race.    And  this  is  true  to  such  a  degree, 

176 


This  Will  Destroy  That 

that  not  only  every  religious  symbol,  but  every  human  thought, 
has  its  page  and  its  memorial  in  that  vast  book. 

Every  civilization  begins  with  theocracy  and  ends  with 
democracy. 

The  reign  of  many  masters  succeeding  the  reign  of  one 
is  written  in  architecture.  For — and  this  point  we  must 
emphasize — it  must  not  be  supposed  that  it  is  only  capable 
of  building  temples,  of  expressing  only  the  sacerdotal  myth 
and  symbolism,  of  transcribing  in  hieroglyphics  on  its  stone 
pages  the  mysterious  Tables  of  the  Law.  Were  this  the  case, 
then — seeing  that  in  every  human  society  there  comes  a 
moment  when  the  sacred  symbol  is  worn  out,  and  is  obliter- 
ated by  the  free  thought,  when  the  man  breaks  away  from 
the  priest,  when  the  growth  of  philosophies  and  systems  eats 
away  the  face  of  religion — architecture  would  be  unable  to 
reproduce  this  new  phase  of  the  human  mind :  its  leaves, 
written  upon  the  right  side,  would  be  blank  on  the  reverse ; 
its  work  would  be  cut  short ;  its  book  incomplete.  But  that 
is  not  the  case. 

Take,  for  example,  the  epoch  of  the  Middle  Ages,  which  is 
clearer  to  us  because  it  is  nearer.  During  its  first  period,  while 
theocracy  is  organizing  Europe,  while  the  Vatican  is  collect- 
ing and  gathering  round  it  the  elements  of  a  new  Rome,  con- 
structed out  of  the  Rome  which  lay  in  fragments  round  the 
Capitol,  while  Christianity  goes  forth  to  search  among  the 
ruins  of  a  former  civilization,  and  out  of  its  remains  to  build 
up  a  new  hierarchic  world  of  which  sacerdotalism  is  the  key- 
stone, we  hear  it  stirring  faintly  through  the  chaos;  then 
gradually,  from  under  the  breath  of  Christianity,  from  under 
the  hands  of  the  barbarians,  out  of  the  rubble  of  dead  archi- 
tectures, Greek  and  Roman — there  emerges  that  mysterious 
Romanesque  architecture,  sister  of  the  theocratic  buildings 
of  Egypt  and  India,  inalterable  emblem  of  pure  Catholicism, 
immutable  hieroglyph  of  papal  unity.  The  whole  tendency 
of  the  time  is  written  in  this  sombre  Romanesque  style. 
Everywhere  it  represents  authority,  unity,  the  imperturbable, 
the  absolute,  Gregory  VII ;  always  the  priest,  never  the  man : 
everywhere  the  caste,  never  the  people. 

Then  come  the  Crusades,  a  great  popular  movement,  and 
every  popular  movement,  whatever  its  cause  or  its  aim,  has 

177 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

as  its  final  precipitation  the  spirit  of  liberty.  Innovations 
struggled  forth  to  the  light.  At  this  point  begins  the  stormy 
period  of  the  Peasant  wars,  the  revolts  of  the  Burghers,  the 
Leagues  of  the  Princes.  Authority  totters,  unity  is  split  and 
branches  ofif  into  two  directions.  Feudalism  demands  to 
divide  the  power  with  theocracy  before  the  inevitable  advent 
of  the  people,  who,  as  ever,  will  take  the  lion's  share — Quia 
iiominor  leo.  Hence  we  see  feudalism  thrusting  up  through 
theocracy,  and  the  people's  power  again  through  feudalism. 
The  whole  face  of  Europe  is  altered.  \^ery  good ;  the  face  of 
architecture  alters  with  it.  Like  civilization,  she  has  turned 
a  page,  and  the  new  spirit  of  the  times  finds  her  prepared 
to  write  to  his  dictation.  She  has  brought  home  w-ith  her 
from  the  crusades  the  pointed  arch,  as  the  nations  have 
brought  free  thought.  Henceforward,  as  Rome  is  gradually 
dismembered,  so  the  Romanesque  architecture  dies  out.  The 
hieroglyphic  deserts  the  Cathedral,  and  goes  to  assist  heraldrv' 
in  heightening  the  prestige  of  feudalism.  The  Cathedral 
itself,  once  so  imbued  with  dogma,  invaded  now  by  the  com- 
monalty, by  the  spirit  of  freedom,  escapes  from  the  priest, 
and  falls  under  the  dominion  of  the  artist.  The  artist  fashions 
it  after  his  own  good  pleasure.  Farewell  to  mystery,  to  myth, 
to  rule.  Here  fantasy  and  caprice  are  a  law  unto  themselves. 
Provided  the  priest  has  his  basilica  and  his  altar,  he  has  noth- 
ing further  to  say  in  the  matter.  The  four  walls  belong  to 
the  artist.  The  stone  book  belongs  no  more  to  the  priest, 
to  religion,  to  Rome,  but  to  imagination,  to  poetry,  to  the 
people.  From  thenceforward'  occur  these  rapid  and  innu- 
merable transformations  of  an  architecture  only  lasting  three 
centuries,  so  striking  after  the  six  or  seven  centuries  of  stag- 
nant immobility  of  the  Romanesque  style.  Meanwhile,  Art 
marches  on  with  giant  strides,  and  popular  originality  plays 
what  was  formerly  the  Bishop's  part.  Each  generation  in 
passing  inscribes  its  line  in  the  book :  it  rubs  out  the  ancient 
Roman  hieroglyphics  from  the  frontispiece — hardly  that  one 
sees  here  and  there  some  dogma  glimmering  faintly  through  the 
new  symbol  overlying  it.  The  framework  of  religion  is  scarce- 
ly perceptible  through  this  new  drapery.  One  can  scarcely 
grasp  the  extent  of  the  license  practised  at  that  time  by  the 
architects,  even  on  the  churches.     Such  are  the  shamelessly 

i;8 


This   Will  Destroy  That 

intertwined  groups  of  monks  and  nuns  on  the  capitals  of  the 
Gallery  of  Chimney-Pieces  in  the  Palais  de  Justice ;  the  epi- 
sode out  of  the  history  of  Noah  sculptured  "  to  the  letter  " 
over  the  Cathedral  door  at  Bourges ;  the  bacchic  monk,  with 
ass's  ears  and  glass  in  hand,  grinning  in  the  face  of  a  whole 
congregation,  carved  on  a  stone  basin  of  the  Abbey  of  Bocher- 
ville.  For  the  thought  written  in  stone  there  existed  at  that 
period  a  privilege  perfectly  comparable  to  the  present  liberty 
of  the  press.     It  was  the  liberty  of  architecture. 

And  the  liberty  went  far.  At  times  a  door,  a  fagade,  nay, 
even  an  entire  church,  presents  a  symbolical  meaning  wholly 
unconnected  with  worship,  even  inimical  to  the  Church  itself. 
In  the  thirteenth  century,  Guillaume  of  Paris,  and  in  the 
fifteenth,  Nicolas  Flamel  wrote  such  seditious  pages.  Saint- 
Jacques-de-la-Boucherie  was  a  complete  volume  of  opposition. 

This  was  the  only  form,  however,  in  which  free  thought 
was  possible,  and  therefore  found  full  expression  only  in  those 
books  called  edifices.  Under  that  form  it  might  have  looked 
on  at  its  own  burning  at  the  hands  of  the  common  hangman 
had  it  been  so  imprudent  as  to  venture  into  manuscript :  the 
thought  embodied  in  the  church  door  would  have  assisted 
at  the  death  agony  of  the  thought  expressed  in  the  book. 
Therefore,  having  but  this  one  outlet,  it  rushed  towards  it 
from  all  parts ;  and  hence  the  countless  mass  of  Cathedrals 
spread  over  all  Europe,  a  number  so  prodigious  that  it  seems 
incredible,  even  after  verifying  it  with  one's  own  eyes.  All 
the  material,  all  the  intellectual  forces  of  society,  converged 
to  that  one  point — architecture.  In  this  way,  under  the  pre- 
text of  building  churches  to  the  glory  of  God,  the  art  devel- 
oped, to  magnificent  proportions. 

In  those  days,  he  who  was  bom  a  poet  became  an  architect. 
All  the  genius  scattered  among  the  masses  and  crushed  down 
on  every  side  under  feudalism,  as  under  a  testndo  of  brazen 
bucklers,  finding  no  outlet  but  in  architecture,  escaped  by 
way  of  that  art,  and  its  epics  found  voice  in  cathedrals.  All 
other  arts  obeyed  and  put  themselves  at  the  service  of  the 
one.  They  were  the  artisans  of  the  great  work ;  the  architect 
summed  up  in  his  own  person,  sculpture,  which  carved  his 
fagade ;  painting,  which  dyed  his  windows  in  glowing  col- 
ours ;  music,  which  set  his  bells  in  motion  and  breathed  in 

179 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

his  organ  pipes.  Even  poor  Poetry — properly  so  called,  who 
still  persisted  in  eking  out  a  meagre  existence  in  manuscript — 
was  obliged,  if  she  was  to  be  recognised  at  all,  to  enroll  herself 
in  the  service  of  the  edifice,  either  as  hymn  or  prosody ;  the 
small  part  played,  after  all,  by  the  tragedies  of  -^^schylus  in 
the  sacerdotal  festivals  of  Greece,  and  the  Book  of  Genesis  in 
the  Temple  of  Solomon. 

Thus,  till  Gutenberg's  time,  architecture  is  the  chief,  the 
universal  form  of  writing ;  in  this  stone  book,  begun  by  the 
East,  continued  by  Ancient  Greece  and  Rome,  the  Middle 
Ages  have  written  the  last  page.  For  the  rest,  this  phe- 
nomenon of  an  architecture  belonging  to  the  people  suc- 
ceeding an  architecture  belonging  to  a  caste,  which  we  have 
observed  in  the  Middle  Ages,  occurs  in  precisely  analogous 
stages  in  human  intelligence  at  other  great  epochs  of  history. 
Thus — to  sum  up  here  in  a  few  lines  a  law  which  would  call 
for  volumes  to  do  it  justice — in  the  Far  East,  the  cradle  of 
primitive  history,  after  Hindu  architecture  comes  the  Phoe- 
nician, that  fruitful  mother  of  Arabian  architecture ;  in 
antiquity,  Egyptian  architecture — of  which  the  Etruscan 
style  and  the  Cyclopean  monuments  are  but  a  variety — is 
succeeded  by  the  Greek,  of  which  the  Roman  is  merely  a 
prolongation  burdened  with  the  Carthaginian  dome ;  in  mod- 
ern times,  after  Romanesque  architecture  comes  the  Gothic. 
And  if  we  separate  each  of  these  three  divisions,  we  shall 
V'  find  that  the  three  elder  sisters— Hindu,  Egyptian,  and 
Roman  architecture — stand  for  the  same  idea :  namely,  theoc- 
racy, caste,  unity,  dogma,  Godj  and  that  the  three  younger 
slsfefs^^^Phoenician,  Greek,  Gothic — whatever  the  diversity  of 
expression  inherent  to  their  nature,  have  also  the  same  sig- 
nificance :  liberty,  the  people,  humanity. 

Call  him  Brahmin,  Magi,  or  Pope,  according  as  you  speak 
of  Hindu,  Egyptian,  or  Roman  buildings,  it  is  always  the 
priest,  and  nothing  but  the  priest.  Very  different  are  the 
architectures  of  the  people ;  they  are  more  opulent  and  less 
saintly.  In  the  Phoenician  you  see  the  merchant,  in  the 
Greek  the  republican,  in  the  Gothic  the  burgess. 

The  general  characteristics  of  all  theocratic  architectures 
are  immutability,  horror  of  progress,  strict  adherence  to  tra- 
ditional lines,  the  consecration  of  primitive  types,  the  adapta- 

i8o 


I 


This  Will  Destroy  That 

tion  of  every  aspect  of  man  and  nature  to  the  incompre- 
hensible whims  of  symboHsm.  Dark  and  mysterious  book, 
which  only  the  initiated  can  decipher!  Furthermore,  every 
form,  every  deformity  even,  in  them  has  a  meaning  which 
renders  it  inviolable.  Never  ask  of  Hindu,  Egyptian,  or 
Roman  architecture  to  change  its  designs  or  perfect  its  sculp- 
ture. To  it,  improvement  in  any  shape  or  form  is  an  impiety. 
Here  the  rigidity  of  dogma  seems  spread  over' the  stone  .  ^^  . 
like  a  second  coating  of  petrifaction.  -  .^   *       ^^ 

Qli_the  other  hand,  the  main  characteristics  of  the  populact;-  T"°'/f' 
architectures~"^re  diversity,  progress,  originality,  richness  of 
design^  perpetual  change.  They  are""  already  suf^ciently 
3etached  from  "religion  to  take  thought  for  their  beauty,  to 
tend  it,  to  alter  and  improve  without  ceasing  their  garniture 
of  statues  and  arabesques.  They  go  with  their  times.  They 
haye^something  human  in  them  which  they  constantly  infuse 
into  'the  divine  symbols  in  which  they  continue  to  express 
themselves.  Here  you  get  edifices  accessible  to  every  spirit, 
every  intelligence,  every  imagination ;  symbolic  still,  but  as 
easily  understood  as  the  signs  of  Nature.  Between  this  style 
of  architecture  and  the  theocratic  there  is  the  same  difference 
as  between  the  sacred  and  the  vulgar  tongue,  between  hiero- 
glyphics and  art,  between  Solomon  and  Phidias. 

In  fact,  if  we  sum  up  what  we  have  just  roughly  pointed 
out — disregarding  a  thousand  details  of  proof  and  also  excep- 
tions to  the  rule— it  comes  briefly  to  this:  that  down  to  the//' 
fifteenth  century ,^rchitecture  was  the  chief  recorder'ST't^r^ 
human  ra:ce;' that  during  that  space  no  single  thought  that 
went  beyond  the  absolutely  fundamental,  but  was  embodied 
in  some  edifice ;  that  every  popular  idea,  like  every  religious 
law,  has  had  its  monuments;  finally,  that  the  human  race 
has  never  conceived  an  important  thought  that  it  has  not 
wTitt?^tf'"d(3wn  in  stone._,  And  why?  Because  every  thought, 
whether  religious  or  philosophic,  is  anxious  to'be  perpetuated ; 
because  the  idea  which  has  stirred  one  generation  longs  to 
stir  others,  and  to  leave  some  lasting  trg^ce.  But  how  pre- 
carious is  the  immortality  of  the  manuscript !  How  far  more 
solid,  enduring,  and  resisting  a  book  is  the  edifice !  To 
destroy  the  written  word  there  is  need  only  of  a  torch  and 
a  Turk.     To  destroy  the  constructed  word  there  is  need  of 

i8i 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

a  social  revolution,  a  terrestrial  upheaval.  The  barbarians 
swept  over  the  Coliseum ;  the  deluge,  perhaps,  over  the 
Pyramids. 

In  the  fifteenth  century  all  is  changed. 

Human  thought  discovers  a  means  of  perpetuating  itself, 
not  only  more  durable  and  more  resisting  than  architecture, 
but  also  simpler  and  more  easy  of  achievement.  Architecture 
is  dethroned,  the  stone  letters  of  Orpheus  must  give  way  to 
Gutenberg's  letters  of  lead. 

The  Book  2vill  destroy  the  Edifice. 
,.V  '  The  invention  of  printing  is  the  greatest  event  of  history. 
It  is  the  parent  revolution  ;itj.s, a  fundamental  chjing  man- 
kind's mode  of  expression ;  it  is  human  thought  putting  ofif 
one  shape  to  don  another ;  it  is  the  complete  and  definite 
sloughing  of  the  skin  of  that  serpent  w^ho,  since  the  days  of 
Adam,  has  symbolized  intelligence. 

Under  the  form  of  printing,  thought  is  more  imperishable 
than  ever;  it  is  volatile,  intangible,  indestructible;  it  mingles 
with  the  very  air.  In  the  reign  of  architecture  it  became  a 
mountain,  and  took  forceful  possession  of  an  era,  of  a  country. 
Now  it  is  transformed  into  a  flock  of  birds,  scattering  to  the 
four  winds  and  filling  the  whole  air  and  space. 

We  repeat :  who  does  not  admit  that  in  this  form  thought 
is  infinitely  more  indelible?  The  stone  has  become  inspired 
with  life.  Durability  has  been  exchanged  for  immortality. 
One  can  demolish  substance,  but  how  extirpate  ubiquity? 
Let  a  deluge  come — the  birds  will  still  be  flying  above  the 
waters  long  after  the  mountain  has  sunk  from  view;  and  let 
but  a  single  ark  float  upon  the  face  of  the  cataclysm,  and 
they  will  seek  safety  upon  it  and  there  await  the  subsiding 
of  the  waters ;  and  the  new  world  rising  out  of  this  chaos  will 
behold  when  it  wakes,  hovering  over  it,  w-inged  and  un- 
harmed, the  thought  of  the  world  that  has  gone  down. 

And  when  one  notes  that  this  mode  of  expression  is  not 
only  the  most  preservative,  but  also  the  simplest,  the  most 
convenient,  the  most  practicable  for  all ;  when  one  considers 
that  it  is  not  hampered  by  a  great  weight  of  tools  and  clumsy 
appurtenances ;  when  one  compares  the  thought,  forced,  in 
order  to  translate  itself  into  an  edifice,  to  call  to  its  assistance 
four  or  five  other  arts  and  tons  of  gold,  to  collect  a  mountain 

182 


This  Will  Destroy  That 

of  stones,  a  forest  of  wood,  a  nation  of  workmen — when  one 
compares  this  with  the  thought  that  only  asks  for  a  Httle 
paper,  a  httle  ink,  and  a  pen  in  order  to  become  a  book, 
is  it  any  wonder  that  human  intelligence  deserted  architecture 
for  printing? 

Then  observe  too,  how,  after  the  discovery  of  printing, 
architecture  gradually  becomes  dry,  withered,  naked ;  how 
the  water  visibly  sinks,  the  sap  ceases  to  rise,  the  thought  of 
the  times  and  of  the  peoples  desert  it.  This  creeping  paralysis 
is  hardly  perceptible  in  the  fifteenth  century,  the  press  is  too 
feeble  as  yet,  and  what  it  does  abstract  from  all-powerful 
architecture  is  but  the  superfluity  of  its  strength.  But  by  the 
sixteenth  century  the  malady  is  pronounced.  Already  archi- 
tecture is  no  longer  the  essential  expression  of  social  life ;  it 
assumes  miserable  classic  airs;  from  Gallican,  European,  in- 
digenous, it  becomes  bastard  Greek  and  Roman,  from  the 
genuine  and  the  modern  it  becomes  pseudo-antique.  This 
decadence  we  call  the  Renaissance — a  magnificent  decadence 
nevertheless,  for  the  ancient  Gothic  genius,  that  sun  now 
sinking  behind  the  gigantic  printing-press  of  Mayence,  sheds 
for  a  little  while  its  last  rays  over  this  hybrid  mass  of  Roman- 
esque arches  and  Corinthian  colonnades. 

And  it  is  this  sunset  that  we  take  for  the  dawn  of  a 
new  day. 

However,  from  the  moment  that  architecture  is  nothing 
more  than  an  art  like  any  other — is  no  longer  the  sum  total 
of  art,  the  sovereign,  the  tyrant — it  is  powerless  to  monopolize 
the  services  of  the  others,  who  accordingly  emancipate  them- 
selves, throw  ofif  the  yoke  of  the  architect  and  go  their  sepa- 
rate ways.  Each  art  gains  by  this  divorce.  Thus  isolated, 
each  waxes  great.  Stone-masonry  becomes  sculpture;  pious 
illumination,  painting ;  the  restricted  chant  blooms  out  into 
concerted  music.  It  is  like  an  empire  falling  asunder  on  the 
death  of  its  Alexander,  and  each  province  becoming  an  inde- 
pendent kingdom. 

For  here  begins  the  period  of  Raphael,  Michael  Angelo, 
Jean  Goujon,  Palestrina — those  luminaries  of  the  dazzling 
firmament  of  the  sixteenth  century. 

And  with  the  arts,  thought,  too,  breaks  its  bonds  on  all 
sides.  The  free-thinkers  of  the  Middle  Ages  had  already 
J  183  Vol.  4 


Notre- Dame  de  Paris 

inflicted  deep  wounds  on  Catholicism.  The  sixteenth  century 
rends  rehgious  unity  in  pieces.  Before  printing,  the  Reforma- 
tion would  merely  have  been  a  schism :  printing  made  it  a 
revolution.  Take  away  the  press,  and  heresy  is  paralyzed. 
Look  on  it  as  fatal  or  providential,  Gutenberg  is  the  fore- 
runner of  Luther. 

But  when  the  sun  of  the  Middle  Ages  has  wholly  set, 
when  the  radiance  of  Gothic  genius  has  faded  forever  from 
the  horizon  of  art,  architecture,  too,  grows  slowly  pale,  wan 
and  lifeless.  The  printed  book,  that  gnawing  worm,  sucks 
the  life-blood  from  her  and  devours  her.  She  droops,  she 
withers,  she  wastes  away  before  the  eye.  She  becomes  mean 
and  poor,  of  no  account,  conveying  nothing  to  the  mind — • 
not  even  the  memory  of  the  art  of  other  days.  Reduced  to 
her  own  exertions,  deserted  by  the  other  arts  because  human 
thought  has  left  her  in  the  lurch,  she  has  to  employ  the 
artisan  in  default  of  the  artist.  Plain  glass  replaces  the  glow- 
ing church  window,  the  stone-mason  the  sculptor;  farewell 
to  vital  force,  to  originality,  life  or  intelligence ;  as  a  lamenta- 
ble beggar  of  the  studios  she  drags  herself  from  copy  to  copy. 
Michael  Angelo,  doubtless  sensible  of  her  approaching  end, 
made  one  last  despairing  effort  in  her  aid.  That  Titan  of  the 
world  of  art  piled  the  Pantheon  on  the  Parthenon  and  so 
made  Saint-Peter's  of  Rome — a  gigantic  work  that  deserved 
to  remain  unique,  the  last  originality  of  architecture,  the  sig- 
nature of  a  mighty  artist  at  the  bottom  of  the  colossal  register 
of  stone  thus  closed.  But  Michael  Angelo  once  dead,  what 
does  this  wretched  architecture  do,  which  only  survives  as  a 
spectre,  as  a  shade  ?  She  takes  Saint-Peter's  and  copies,  paro- 
dies it.  It  becomes  a  mania  with  her,  a  thing  to  weep  at : 
in  the  seventeenth  century  the  Val-de-Grace,  in  the  eight- 
eenth, Sainte-Genevieve.  Every  country  has  its  Saint-Peter's. 
London  has  hers,  St.  Petersburg  hers,  Paris  even  two  or 
three — a  legacy  of  triviality,  the  last  drivellings  of  a  grand 
but  decrepit  art,  fallen  into  second  childhood  before  its  final 
dissolution. 

If,  instead  of  the  characteristic  monuments  like  those  of 
which  we  have  spoken,  we  examine  the  general  aspect  of  the 
art  from  the  sixteenth  to  the  eighteenth  century,  we  shall 
find  everywhere  the  same  evidences  of  decrepitude  and  decay. 

184 


This  Will  Destroy  That 

From  the  time  of  Francis  II  the  form  of  the  edifice  lets  the 
geometrical  outline  show  through  more  and  more,  like  the 
bony  framework  through  the  skin  of  an  emaciated  body.  The 
generous  curves  of  art  give  place  to  the  cold  and  inexorable 
lines  of  geometry.  An  edifice  is  no  longer  an  edifice,  it  is 
a  polyhedron.  Architecture,  however,  is  at  infinite  pains  to 
cover  her  nakedness,  and  hence  the  Greek  pediment  set  in 
the  Roman  pediment  and  vice  versa.  It  is  always  the 
Pantheon  on  the  Parthenon,  Saint-Peter's  at  Rome.  Such  are 
the  brick  houses  with  stone  corners  of  the  time  of  Henri  IV, 
the  Place  Royale,  the  Place  Dauphine.  Such  are  the  churches 
of  Louis  XIII,  heavy,  squat,  compressed,  with  a  dome  like 
a  hump.  Thus,  too,  is  the  Mazarin  architecture,  the  poor 
Italian  pasticcio  of  the  Quatre-Nations,  the  palaces  of  Louis 
XIV,  mere  court  barracks,  endless,  frigid,  wearisome ;  and 
finally,  the  style  of  Louis  XV  with  its  chicory-leaf  and  vermi- 
celli ornaments,  and  all  the  warts  and  growths  disfiguring 
that  'aged,  toothless,  demoralized  coquette.  From  Francis 
II  to  Louis  XV  the  malady  progressed  in  geometrical  ratio. 
The  art  is  reduced  to  skin  and  bone,  her  life  ebbs  miser- 
ably away. 

Meanwhile,  what  of  the  art  of  printing?  All  the  vital 
force  taken  from  architecture  streams  to  her.  As  architec- 
ture sinks,  so .  printing  rises  and  expands.  The  store  of 
strength  spent  hitherto  by  human  thought  on  edifices  is  now 
bestowed  on  books ;  till,  by  the  sixteenth  century,  the  press, 
grown  now  to  the  level  of  her  shrunken  rival,  wrestles  with 
her  and  prevails.  In  the  seventeenth  century  she  is  already 
so  absolute,  so  victorious,  so  firmly  established  on  her  throne, 
that  she  can  afford  to  offer  to  the  world  the  spectacle  of  a 
great  literary  era.  In  the  eighteenth  century,  after  long  idle- 
ness at  the  Court  of  Louis  XIV,  she  takes  up  again  the  ancient 
sword  of  Luther,  thrusts  it  into  Voltaire's  hand,  and  runs 
full  tilt  at  that  antiquated  Europe  whom  she  has  already 
robbed  of  all  architectural  expression.  Thus,  as  the  eight- 
eenth century  ends  she  has  accomplished  her  work  of  de- 
struction ;  with  the  nineteenth  century  she  begins  to  construct. 

Now  which  of  these  two  arts,  we  ask,  represents  in  truth 
the  course  of  human  thought  during  three  centuries ;  which 
of  the  two  transmits,  expresses,  not  only  its  fleeting  literary 

185 


Notre- Dame  de   Paris 

and  scholastic  fashions,  but  its  vast,  profound,  all-embracing 
tendencies?  'Which  of  the  two  has  fitted  itself  like  a  skin, 
without  a  crease  or  gap,  over  that  thousand-footed,  never- 
resting  monster,  the  human  race?     Architecture  or  Printing? 

Printing.  Let  no  one  mistake :  architecture  is  dead — 
dead  beyond  recall,  killed  by  the  printed  book,  killed  because 
it  is  less  durable,  killed  because  it  is  more  costly.  Every 
Cathedral  represents  a  million.  Imagine  now  the  sums  neces- 
sary for  the  rewriting  of  that  architectural  tome ;  for  those 
countless  edifices  to  spread  once  more  over  the  land ;  to 
return  to  the  days  when  their  abundance  was  such  that  from 
the  testimony  of  an  eye-witness  "  you  would  have  thought 
that  the  world  had  cast  ofif  its  old  raiment  and  clad  itself 
anew  in  a  white  raiment  of  churches."  Erat  enim  ut  si  mundus, 
ipse  excuticndo  scnict,  reject  a  vetustate,  candidam  ecclcsiarmn 
vestetn  indncret.  (Glaber  Rudolphus.) 
^  A  book  takes  so  little  time  in  the  making,  costs  so  little, 
and  can  reach  so  far.  What  wonder  that  human  thought 
should  choose  that  path?  Though  this  is  not  to  say  that 
architecture  will  not,  from  time  to  time,  put  forth  some 
splendid  monument,  some  isolated  master-piece.  There  is  no 
reason  why,  under  the  reign  of  printing,  we  should  not,  some 
time  or  other,  have  an  obelisk  constructed,  say,  by  an  entire 
army  out  of  melted  cannon,  as,  under  the  reign  of  architec- 
ture, we  had  the  Iliads,  the  Romants,  the  Mahabahratas, 
and  the  Nibelungen,  built  by  whole  nations  with  the  welded 
fragments  of  a  thousand  epics.  The  great  good  fortune  of 
possessing  an  architect  of  genius  may  befall  the  twentieth 
century,  as  Dante  came  to  the  thirteenth.  But  architecture 
will  never  again  be  the  social,  the  collective,  the  dominant 
art.  The  great  epic,  the  great  monument,  the  great  master- 
piece of  mankind  will  never  again  be  built ;  it  will  be  printed. 

And  even  if,  by  some  fortuitous  accident,  architecture 
should  revive,  she  will  never  again  be  mistress.  She  will  have 
to  submit  to  those  laws  which  she  once,  imposed  upon  litera- 
ture. The  respective  positions  of  the  two  arts  will  be  re- 
versed. Certainly,  under  the  reign  of  architecture,  the  poems 
— rare,  it  is  true — resemble  the  monuments  of  the  time.  The 
Indian  Vyasa  is  strange,  variegated,  unfathomable,  like  the 
native  pagoda.     In  Egypt  the  poetry  shires  the  grand  and 

i86 


This  Will  Destroy  That 

tranquil  lines  of  the  edifices;  in  ancient  Greece  it  has  their 
beauty,  serenity,  and  calm ;  in  Christian  Europe,  the  majesty 
of  the  Church,  the  simplicity  of  the  people,  the  rich  and 
luxuriant  vegetation  of  a  period  of  rebirth.  The  Bible  cor- 
responds to  the  Pyramids,  the  Iliad  to  the  Parthenon,  Homer 
to  Phidias.  Dante  in  the  thirteenth  century  is  the  last  Roman- 
esque church ;  Shakespeare  in  the  sixteenth,  the  last  Gothic 
minster. 

Thus,  to  put  it  shortly,  mankind  has  two  books,  two  regis- 
ters, two  testaments :  Architecture  and  Printing ;  the  Bible  of 
stone  and  the  Bible  of  paper.  Doubtless,  in  contemplating 
these  two  Bibles,  spread  open  wide  through  the  centuries, 
one  is  fain  to  regret  the  visible  majesty  of  the  granite  writing, 
those  gigantic  alphabets  in  the  shape  of  colonnades,  porches, 
and  obelisks ;  these  mountains,  as  it  were,  the  work  of  man's 
hand  spread  over  the  whole  world  and  filling  the  past,  from 
the  pyramid  to  the  steeple,  from  Cheops  to  Strassburg.  The 
past  should  be  read  in  these  marble  pages ;  the  books  written 
by.  architecture  can  be  read  and  reread,  with  never-dimin- 
ishing interest ;  but  one  cannot  deny  the  grandeur  of  the 
edifice  which  printing  has  raised  in  its  turn. 

That  edifice  is  colossal.  I  do  not  know  what  statistician 
it  was  who  calculated  that  by  piling  one  upon  another  all 
the  volumes  issued  from  the  press  since  Gutenberg,  you 
would  bridge  the  space  between  the  earth  and  the  moon— 
but  it  is  not  to  that  kind  of  greatness  we  allude.  Neverthe- 
less, if  we  try  to  form  a  collective  picture  of  the  combined 
results  of  printing  down  to  our  own  times,  does  it  not  appear 
as  a  huge  structure,  having  the  whole  world  for  foundation, 
and  the  whole  human  race  for  its  ceaselessly  active  workmen, 
and  whose  pinnacles  tower  up  into  the  impenetrable  mist  of 
the  future?  It  is  the  swarming  ant-hill  of  intellectual  forces; 
the  hive  to  which  all  the  golden-winged  messengers  of  the 
imagination  return,  laden  with  honey.  This  prodigious  edifice 
has  a  thousand  storeys,  and  remains  forever  incomplete.  The 
press,  that  giant  engine,  incessantly  absorbing  all  the  intel- 
lectual forces  of  society,  disgorges,  as  incessantly,  new  mate- 
rials for  its  work.  The  entire  human  race  is  on  the  scaflfold- 
ing ;  every  mind  is  a  mason.  Even  the  humblest  can  fill  up 
a  gap,  or  lay  another  brick.     Each  day  another  layer  is  put 

187 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

on.  Independently  of  the  individual  contribution,  there  are 
certain  collective  donations.  The  eighteenth  century  presents 
the  Encyclopedia,  the  Revolution  the  Monitcur.  Undoubtedly 
this,  too,  is  a  structure,  growing  and  piling  itself  up  in  endless 
spiral  lines ;  here,  too,  there  is  confusion  of  tongues,  incessant 
activity,  indefatigable  labour,  a  furious  contest  between  the 
whole  of  mankind,  an  ark  of  refuge  for  the  intelligence  against 
another  deluge,  against  another  influx  of  barbarism. 
It  is  the  second  Tower  of  Babel. 


i88 


BOOK   VI 


AN    IMPARTIAL   GLANCE   AT   THE   ANCIENT   MAGISTRACY 

A  MIGHTY  fortunate  personage  in  the  year  of  grace  1482, 
was  the  noble  knight,  Robert  d'Estouteville,  Sieur  of  Beyne, 
Baron  of  Ivry  and  Saint-Andry  in  the  March,  Councillor 
and  Chamberlain  to  the  King,  and  Warden  of  the  Provostry' 
of  Paris.  It  was  well-nigh  seventeen  years  ago  since  he  had 
received  from  the  King,  on  November  7,  1465 — the  year 
of  the  comet  * — this  fine  appointment  of  Provost  of  Paris,  re- 
puted rather  a  seigneurie  than  an  office.  Dignitas,  says  Joannes 
Loemnoeus,  qucr,  aim  non  cxigna  potestate  politiam  concermnte, 
atqiie  prcrrogativis  mult  is  et  jiiribus  conjuncta  est.^  It  was 
indeed  a  thing  to  marvel  at  that  in  1482  a  gentleman  should 
be  holding  the  King's  commission,  whose  letters  of  appoint- 
ment dated  back  to  the  date  of  the  marriage  of  a  natural 
daughter  of  Louis  XI  with  Monsieur  the  Bastard  of  Bourbon. 
On  the  same  day  on  which  Robert  d'Estouteville  had  replaced 
Jacques  de  Villiers  in  the  Provostry  of  Paris,  Maitre  Jehan 
Dauvet  superseded  Messire  Helye  de  Thorrettes  as  Chief 
President  of  the  Court  of  Parliament,  Jehan  Jouvenel  des 
Ursins  supplanted  Pierre  de  Morvilliers  in  the  office  of  Chan- 
cellor of  France,  and  Regnault  des  Dormans  turned  Pierre 
Puy  out  of  the  post  of   Master  of  Common   Pleas  to  the 

*  This  comet,  for  deliverance  from  which,  Pope  Calixtus,  uncle  to 
Borgia,  ordered  public  prayer,  is  the  same  which  reappeared  in  1835. — 
Author's  note. 

f  A  dignity  to  which  is  attached  no  little  power  in  dealing  with  the 
public  safety,  together  with  many  prerogatives  and  rights. 

189 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

royal  palace.  But  over  how  many  heads  had  that  Presidency, 
that  Chancellorship,  and  that  Mastership  passed  since  Robert 
d'Estouteville  held  the  Provostship  of  Paris !  It  had  been 
"  given  unto  his  keeping,"  said  the  letters  patent ;  and  well 
indeed  had  he  kept  the  same.  He  had  clung  to  it,  incorpo- 
rated himself  into  it,  had  so  identified  himself  with  it  that  he 
had  managed  to  escape  that  mania  for  change  which  so  pos- 
sessed Louis  XI,  a  close-fisted,  scheming  king,  who  sought 
to  maintain,  by  frequent  appointments  and  dismissals,  the 
elasticity  of  his  power.  Furthermore,  the  worthy  knight  had 
procured  the  reversion  of  his  post  for  his  son,  and  for  two 
years  now  the  name  of  the  noble  M.  Jacques  d'Estouteville, 
Knight,  had  figured  beside  that  of  his  father  at  the  head  of 
the  roll  of  the  Provostry  of  Paris — in  truth,  a  rare  and  signal 
favour !  To  be  sure,  Robert  d'Estouteville  was  a  good  soldier, 
had  loyally  raised  his  banner  for  the  King  against  the 
"  League  of  the  Public  ^^'eal,"  and  on  the  entry  of  the  Queen 
into  Paris  in  14 —  had  presented  her  with  a  wonderful  stag 
composed  of  confectionery.  Besides  this,  he  was  on  a  very 
friendly  footing  with  Messire  Tristan  I'Hermite,  Provost- 
JMarshal  of  the  King's  palace.  So  Messire  Robert's  existence 
was  an  easy  and  pleasant  one.  First  of  all,  he  enjoyed  very 
good  pay,  to  which  were  attached  and  hanging  like  extra 
grapes  on  his  vine,  the  revenues  from  the  civil  and  criminal 
registries  of  the  Provostry,  the  revenues,  civil  and  criminal, 
accruing  from  the  auditory  courts  of  the  Chatelet,  not  to 
speak  of  many  a  comfortable  little  toll-due  from  the  bridges 
of  Mantes  and  Corbeil,  and  the  profits  from  the  taxes  levied 
on  the  grain-dealers,  as  on  the  measurers  of  wood  and  salt. 
Add  to  this,  the  pleasure  of  displaying  on  his  ofificial  rides 
through  the  city — in  shining  contrast  to  the  party-coloured 
gowns,  half  red,  half  tan,  of  the  sheriflfs  and  district  officers — 
his  fine  military  accoutrements,  which  you  may  admire  to 
this  day,  sculptured  on  his  tomb  in  the  Valmont  Abbey  in 
Normandy,  and  his  morion  with  all  the  bruises  in  it  got  at 
Montlhery.  Then,  it  was  no  mean  thing  to  have  authority 
over  the  constables  of  the  Palais  de  Justice,  over  the  warder 
and  the  Commandant  of  the  Chatelet,  the  two  auditors  of  the 
Chatelet  {auditores  Castelleti),  the  sixteen  commissioners  of  the 
sixteen  districts,  the  jailer  of  the  Chatelet,  the  four  enfeoffed 

190 


Impartial  Glance  at  Ancient  Magistracy 

officers  of  the  peace,  the  hundred  and  twenty  mounted  officers 
of  the  peace,  the  hundred  and  twenty  officers  of  the  rod,  the 
captain  of  the  watch  with  his  patrol,  his  under-patrol,  his 
counter-and-night-patrol.  Was  it  nothing  to  exercise  supreme 
and  secondary  jurisdiction,  to  have  the  right  of  pillory,  hang- 
ing, and  dragging  at  the  cart's  tail,  besides  minor  jurisdiction 
in  the  first  resort  (m  prima  instantia,  as  the  old  charters  have 
it)  over  the  whole  viscomty  of  Paris,  so  gloriously  endowed 
with  the  revenues  of  seven  noble  bailiwicks?  Can  you  con- 
ceive of  anything  more  gratifying  than  to  mete  out  judgment 
and  sentence,  as  Messire  Robert  d'Estouteville  did  every  day 
in  the  Grand  Chatelet,  under  the  wide,  low-pitched  Gothic 
arches  of  Philip  Augustus ;  and  to  retire,  as  he  was  wont,  every 
evening  to  that  charming  house  in  Rue  Galilee,  within  the 
purlieus  of  the  Palais  Royal,  which  he  held  by  right  of  his 
wife,  Dame  Ambroise  de  Lore,  where  he  could  rest  from  the 
fatigues  of  having  sent  some  poor  devil  to  pass  the  night  on 
his  part  in  that  "  little  cell  of  the  Rue  de  I'Escorcherie,  which 
the  provosts  and  sheriffs  of  Paris  frequently  used  as  a  prison — 
the  same  measuring  eleven  feet  in  length,  seven  feet  and  four 
inches  in  width,  and  eleven  feet  in  height?  "  * 

And  not  only  had  Messire  Robert  d'Estouteville  his  special 
jurisdictional  offices  as  Provost  of  Paris,  but  also  he  had  his 
seat,  with  power  over  life  and  death,  in  the  King's  Supreme 
Court.  There  was  no  head  of  any  account  but  had  passed 
through  his  hands  before  falling  to  the  executioner.  It  was 
he  who  had  fetched  the  Comte  de  Nemours  from  the  Bastille 
Saint-Antoine,  to  convey  him  to  the  Halles ;  he  who  had 
escorted  the  Comte  de  Saint-Pol  to  the  Place  de  Greve,  who 
stormed  and  wept,  to  the  huge  delight  of  Monsieur  the  Prov- 
ost, who  bore  no  love  to  Monsieur  the  Constable. 

Here,  assuredly,  was  more  than  sufficient  to  make  a  man's 
life  happy  and  illustrious  and  to  merit  some  day  a  noteworthy 
page  in  that  interesting  chronicle  of  the  Provosts  of  Paris, 
from  which  we  learn  that  Oudard  de  Villeneuve  owned  a 
house  in  the  Rue  des  Boucherie,  that  Guillaume  de  Hangast 
bought  the  great  and  the  little  Savoie  mansion,  that  Guillaume 
Thiboust  gave  his  houses  in  the  Rue  Clopin  to  the  Sisters  of 

♦  Crown  accounts,  1383. — Author's  note. 
191 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Sainte-Genevieve,  that  Hugues  Aubriot  lived  in  the  Hotel  du 
Pore-epic,  and  other  facts  of  a  domestic  character. 

Nevertheless,  in  spite  of  all  these  reasons  for  taking  life 
easily  and  pleasantly,  Messire  Robert  d'Estouteville  had  risen 
on  the  morning  of  January  7,  1482,  feeling  as  sulky  and 
dangerous  in  temper  as  a  bear  with  a  sore  head ;  why,  he 
would  have  been  at  a  loss  to  say.  Was  it  because  the  sky 
was  gloomy?  because  the  buckle  of  his  old  sword-belt — an- 
other relic  of  Montlhery — was  clasped  too  tight,  and  girded 
up  his  fair,  round,  provostorial  port  in  all  too  military  a 
fashion  ?  or  because  he  had  just  seen  a  band  of  tattered  varlets, 
who  had  jeered  at  him  as  they  passed  below  his  windows 
walking  four  abreast,  in  doublets  without  shirts,  in  hats  with- 
out brims,  and  wallet  and  bottle  hanging  at  their  sides?  Or 
was  it  the  vague  premonition  of  the  loss  of  those  three  hun- 
dred and  seventy  livres,  sixteen  sols,  eight  deniers,  of  which 
in  the  following  year  the  future  King  Charles  VIII  was  going 
to  dock  the  revenues  of  the  Provostry  ?  The  reader  may  take 
his  choice,  but  for  our  part  we  are  inclined  to  the  opinion 
that  he  was  in  a  bad  temper  because — he  was  in  a  bad  temper. 

Besides,  it  was  the  day  after  a  holiday,  a  day  distasteful 
to  everybody,  especially  to  the  magistrate  whose  business  it 
was  to  sweep  up  all  the  dirt — literally  and  figuratively — which 
a  Paris  holiday  inevitably  brings  with  it.  Then,  too,  he  was 
to  sit  that  day  at  the  Grand  Chatelet ;  and  we  have  noticed 
that  the  judges  generally  manage  that  their  day  of  sitting 
shall  also  be  their  day  of  ill-humour,  in  that  they  may  have 
some  one  on  whom  conveniently  to  vent  their  spleen  in  the 
name  of  the  King,  justice,  and  the  law. 

The  sitting,  however,  had  begun  without  him.  His  depu- 
ties in  civil,  criminal,  and  private  causes  were  acting  for 
him  as  usual ;  and  by  eight  o'clock  in  the  morning,  some 
scores  of  townsfolk,  men  and  women,  crowded  up  between 
the  wall  and  a  strong  barrier  of  oak  in  a  dark  corner  of  the 
court  of  the  Chatelet,  were  blissfully  assisting  at  the  varied 
and  exhilarating  spectacle  of  the  law,  civil  and  criminal,  as 
administered  by  Maitre  Florian  Barbedienne,  examining 
judge  at  the  Chatelet,  and  deputy  for  Monsieur  the  Provost, 
an  ofifice  he  performed  in  a  manner  somewhat  mixed  and 
altogether  haphazard. 

192 


Impartial  Glance  at  Ancient  Magistracy 

The  hall  was  small,  low,  and  vaulted,  furnished  at  the  far 
end  with  a  table  figured  over  with  fleur  de  lis,  a  great,  carved 
oak  chair  for  the  Provost,  and  therefore  empty,  and  a  stool 
at  the  left  side  for  Maitre  Florian.  Lower  down  sat  the  clerk, 
scribbling  fast.  Opposite  to  them  were  the  people ;  while 
before  the  door  and  before  the  table  were  stationed  a  number 
of  sergeants  of  the  Provostry,  in  violet  woollen  jerkins,  with 
white  crosses  on  their  breasts.  Two  sergeants  of  the  Common 
Hall  in  their  "  All-Saints  "  jackets — half  red,  half  blue — stood 
sentinel  at  a  low,  closed  door  which  was  visible  in  the  back- 
ground behind  the  table.  A  solitary  Gothic  window,  deeply 
embedded  in  the  wall,  shed  the  pale  light  of  a  January  morn- 
ing on  two  grotesque  figures — the  whimsical  stone  devil, 
carved  on  the  keystone  of  the  vaulted  ceiling,  and  the  judge 
sitting  at  the  back  of  the  Hall  bending  over  the  fleur  de  lis 
of  the  table. 

Picture  to  yourself  that  figure  at  the  table,  leaning  on  his 
elbows  between  two  bundles  of  documents,  his  foot  wrapped 
in  the  tail  of  his  plain  brown  gown,  the  face  in  its  frame  of 
white  lambskin,  of  which  the  eye-brows  seem  to  be  a  piece 
— red,  scowling,  blinking,  carrying  with  dignity  the  load  of 
fat  that  met  under  his  chin — and  you  have  Maitre  Florian 
Barbedienne,  examining  judge  at  the  Chatelet. 

Now,  Maitre  Florian  was  deaf — rather  a  drawback  for  an 
examining  judge — but  none  the  less  did  he  mete  out  judg-- 
ment  without  appeal  and  with  great  propriety.  Surely  it  is 
sufficient  that  a  judge  should  appear  to  listen,  and  the  vener- 
able auditor  the  better  filled  this  condition — the  sole  essential 
to  the  good  administration  of  justice — in  that  his  attention 
could  not  be  distracted  by  any  sound. 

However,  he  had  among  the  onlookers  a  merciless  critic 
of  deeds  and  manners  in  the  person  of  our  friend,  Jehan 
Frollo  of  the  Mill,  the  little  scholar  of  yesterday's  scenes,  the 
little  loafer  one  was  certain  to  encounter  anywhere  in  Paris, 
save  in  the  lecture-room  of  the  professors. 

"  Look,"  whispered  he  to  his  companion,  Robin  Pousse- 
pain,  who  sat  beside  him  in  fits  of  suppressed  laughter  at 
his  comments  on  the  scene  before  them,  "  why,  there's 
Jehanneton  du  Buisson,  the  pretty  lass  of  that  old  lazy-bones 
at  the  Marche-Neuf!     On  my  soul,  he  means  to  fine  her, 

193 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

the  old  dotard !  Fifteen  sols,  four  deniers  parisis  for  wearing 
two  rosaries !  That's  rather  dear !  Lex  duri  carminis — who's 
this?  Robin  Chief-de-Ville,  hauberk-maker,  for  being  passed 
and  admitted  a  master  in  the  said  craft.  Ah !  his  entrance  fee. 
What !  Two  gentlemen  among  this  rabble !  Aiglet  de  Soins, 
Hutin  de  Mailly,  two  squires!  Corpus  Christi!  Oh,  for 
throwing  dice!  When  shall  we  see  our  Rector  here,  I 
wonder?  A  fine  of  a  hundred  livres  parisis  to  the  King! 
Barbedienne  lays  about  him,  like  a  deaf  one — as  he  is.  May 
I  be  my  brother  the  archdeacon,  if  that  shall  hinder  me  from 
playing;  from  playing  by  day,  and  playing  by  night,  living 
at  play,  dying  at  play,  and  staking  my  soul  after  I  have  staked 
my  shirt !  Holy  Virgin  !  what  a  lot  of  girls !  One  at  a  time, 
my  lambkins!  Ambroise  Lecuyere,  Isabeau  la  Paynette, 
Berarde  Gironin !  By  heavens,  I  know  them  all !  A  fine ! 
a  fine !  ten  sols  parisis ;  that'll  teach  you  minxes  to  wear  gilded 
girdles!  Oh,  the  ancient  sheep's-head  of  a  judge,  deaf  and 
doting !  Ah,  Florian  thou  dolt !  Oh,  Barbedienne  thou 
booby !  Do  but  look  at  him  there  at  table — he  dines  oflf  the 
litigant — he  dines  off  the  case — he  eats — he  chews — he  gob- 
bles— he  fills  himself!  Fines,  unclaimed  goods,  dues,  costs, 
expenses,  wages,  damages,  torture,  imprisonment,  and  pil- 
lory and  fetters,  and  loss  of  right — all  are  to  him  as  Christmas 
comfits  and  midsummer  marchpane !  Look  at  him,  the  swine  ! 
Good !  it  begins  again.  Another  light  o'  love !  Thibaude-la- 
Thibaude,  as  I  live !  For  having  come  out  of  the  Rue  Gla- 
tigny !  Who's  this  young  shaver?  Gieffroy  Mabonne,  cross- 
bowman.  He  blasphemed  the  name  of  God  the  Father. 
Thibaude  a  fine !  Gieffroy  a  fine !  A  fine  for  both  of  them ! 
The  deaf  old  blockhead,  he  is  sure  to  have  mixed  up  the 
two.  Ten  to  one  that  he  makes  the  girl  pay  for  the  oath, 
and  the  soldier  for  the  amour !  Attention,  Robin  Poussepain ! 
Who  are  they  bringing  in  now  ?  What  a  crowd  of  tip-staffs ! 
By  Jupiter,  the  whole  pack  of  hounds !  This  must  be  the 
grand  catch  of  the  day.  A  wild  boar  at  least.  It  is  one 
Robin !  it  is — and  a  fine  specimen  too !  Hercules !  it  is  our 
prince  of  yesterday,  our  Pope  of  Fools,  our  bell-ringer,  our 
hunchback,  our  grimace  !     It  is  Quasimodo !  " 

It  was  indeed. 

It  was  Quasimodo,  bound  about  with  cords,  tightly  pin- 

194 


Impartial  Glance  at  Ancient  Magistracy 

ioned,  and  under  a  strong  guard.  The  detachment  of  officers 
surrounding  him  was  led  by  the  Captain  of  the  watch  in 
person,  with  the  arms  of  France  embroidered  on  his  breast, 
and  those  of  the  City  of  Paris  on  his  back.  However,  apart 
from  his  ugHness,  there  was  nothing  about  Quasimodo  to 
warrant  this  show  of  halberds  and  arquebuses.  He  was 
moody,  silent,  and  composed,  only  casting  from  time  to  time 
a  sullen  and  angry  glance  out  of  his  one  eye  at  the  cords  that 
bound  him.  He  cast  this  same  glance  at  his  surroundings, 
but  it  was  so  dazed  and  drowsy  that  the  women  only  pointed 
him  out  in  derision  to  one  another. 

Meanwhile,  Maitre  Florian  was  busy  turning  over  the 
pages  of  the  charge  drawn  up  against  Quasimodo,  handed 
to  him  by  the  clerk,  and,  having  glanced  at  it,  seemed  to 
commune  with  himself  for  a  moment.  Thanks  to  this  pre- 
caution, which  he  was  always  careful  to  employ  before  pro- 
ceeding with  his  examination,  he  knew  in  advance  the  name, 
quality,  and  offence  of  the  delinquent,  made  prearrangecl 
replies  to  foreseen  questions,  and  contrived  to  find  his  way 
through  all  the  sinuosities  of  the  cross-examination  without 
too  openly  betraying  his  deafness.  The  written  charge  was 
to  him  as  the  dog  to  the  blind  man.  If  it  happened,  now 
and  then,  that  his  infirmity  became  evident  through  some 
unintelligible  address,  or  some  question  wide  of  the  mark, 
it  passed  with  some  for  profundity,  and  with  others  for  imbe- 
cility. In  either  case,  the  honour  of  the  magistracy  under- 
went no  diminution :  better  far  that  a  judge  should  be  reputed 
imbecile  or  profound  rather  than  deaf.  He  therefore  took 
such  precautions  to  conceal  his  deafness  from  others,  and 
usually  succeeded  so  well,  that  he  had  come  at  last  to  deceive 
himself  on  the  subject — an  easier  matter  than  one  might  sup- 
pose :  for  all  hunchbacks  walk  with  head  erect ;  all  stammerers 
are  fond  of  talking ;  deaf  people  invariably  speak  in  a  whisper. 
For  his  part,  he  thought,  at  most,  that  perhaps  his  ear  was 
a  trifle  less  quick  than  other  people's.  This  was  the  sole  con- 
cession he  would  make  to  public  opinion  in  his  rare  moments 
of  candour  and  self-examination. 

Having  then  ruminated  well  on  Quasimodo's  case,  he 
threw  back  his  head  and  half-closed  his  eyes,  by  way  of 
extra  dignity  and  impartiality,  with  the  result  that,  for  the 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

moment,  he  was  both  bHnd  and  deaf — a  twofold  condition 
without  which  no  judge  is  really  perfect. 

In  this  magisterial  attitude  he  commenced  his  exam- 
ination. 

"Your  name?" 

Now  here  was  a  case  which  had  not  been  "  provided  for 
by  the  law  " — the  interrogation  of  one  deaf  person  by  another 
in  similar  plight. 

Quasimodo,  who  had  no  hint  of  the  fact  that  he  was  being 
addressed,  continued  to  regard  the  judge  fixedly,  but  made 
no  reply.  The  judge,  deaf  himself,  and  unaware  of  the  deaf- 
ness of  the  accused,  imagined  he  had  answered,  as  accused 
persons  generally  did,  and  continued  with  his  usual  stupid 
and  mechanical  self-confidence  : 

"Very  good — your  age?" 

Quasimodo  made  no  answer  to  this  question  either,  but 
the  judge,  fancying  he  had  done  so,  went  on : 

"  Now,  your  calling?  " 

Continued  silence.  The  bystanders,  however,  began  to 
whisper  and  look  at  each  other. 

"  That  will  do,"  returned  the  imperturbable  magistrate 
when  he  concluded  that  the  accused  had  finished  his  third 
answer.  "  You  stand  charged  before  us,  prinw,  with  noc- 
turnal disturbance ;  sccundo,  with  unjustifiable  violence  to  the 
person  of  a  light  woman,  in  prcjudicmm  nicretricis ;  tertio,  of 
rebellion  and  contempt  against  the  archers  of  our  Lord  the 
King.  Explain  yourself  on  these  points. — Clerk,  have  you 
written  down  what  the  accused  has  said  so  far?" 

At  this  unlucky  question  there  was  an  explosion  of  laugh- 
ter, beginning  with  the  clerk  and  spreading  to  the  crowd — 
so  violent,  so  uncontrollable,  so  contagious,  so  universal,  that 
neither  of  the  deaf  men  could  help  perceiving  it.  Quasimodo 
turned  round  and  shrugged  his  high  shoulders  disdainfully, 
while  Maitre  Florian,  as  surprised  as  he,  and  supposing  that 
the  laughter  of  the  spectators  had  been  provoked  by  some 
unseemly  reply  from  the  accused,  rendered  visible  to  him 
by  that  shrug,  addressed  him  indignantly : 

"  Fellow,  that  last  answer  of  yours  deserves  the  halter. 
Do  you  know  to  whom  you  are  speaking  ?  " 

This  sally  was  hardly  calculated  to  extinguish  the  outburst 

196 


Impartial  Glance  at  Ancient  Magistracy 

of  general  hilarity.  The  thing  was  so  utterly  absurd  and 
topsy-turvy,  that  the  wild  laughter  seized  even  the  sergeants 
of  the  Common  Hall,  a  sort  of  pikemen  whose  stolidity  was 
part  of  their  uniform.  Quasimodo  alone  preserved  his  gravity, 
for  the  very  good  reason  that  he  had  no  idea  what  was  occur- 
ring round  him.  The  judge,  growing  more  and  more  irritated, 
thought  it  proper  to  continue  in  the  same  tone,  hoping 
thereby  to  strike  such  terror  to  the  heart  of  the  prisoner  as 
would  react  on  the  audience  and  recall  them  to  a  sense  of 
due  respect. 

"  It  would  seem,  then,  headstrong  and  riotous  knave  that 
you  are,  that  you  would  dare  to  flout  the  auditor  of  the 
Chatelet ;  the  magistrate  entrusted  with  the  charge  of  the 
public  safety  of  Paris;  whose  duty  it  is  to  search  into  all 
crimes,  delinquencies,  and  evil  courses ;  to  control  all  trades 
and  forbid  monopolies ;  to  repair  the  pavements ;  to  prevent 
the  retail  hawking  of  poultry  and  game,  both  feathered  and 
furred ;  to  superintend  the  measuring  of  firewood  and  all  otheY 
kinds  of  wood ;  to  purge  the  city  of  filth,  and  the  air  of  all 
contagious  distemper — in  a  word,  to  slave  continually  for  the 
public  welfare  without  fee  or  recompense,  or  hope  of  any. 
Know  you  that  my  name  is  Florian  Barbedienne,  deputy  to 
Monsieur  the  Provost  himself,  and,  moreover,  commissioner, 
investigator,  controller,  and  examiner,  with  equal  power  in 
provostry,  bailiwick,  registration,  and  presidial  court " 

There  is  no  earthly  reason  why  a  deaf  man  talking  to  a 
deaf  man  should  ever  stop.  God  alone  knows  where  and 
when  Maitre  Florian  would  have  come  to  anchor,  once 
launched  in  full  sail  on  the  ocean  of  his  eloquence,  had  not 
the  low  door  at  the  back  of  the  hall  suddenly  opened,  and 
given  passage  to  Monsieur  the  Provost  in  person. 

At  his  entrance  Maitre  Florian  did  not  stop,  but  wheel- 
ing half  round,  and  suddenly  aiming  at  the  Provost  the 
thunder-bolts  which  up  to  now  he  had  launched  at  Quasi- 
modo : 

"  Monseigneur,"  he  said,  "  I  demand  such  penalty  as  shall 
seem  fitting  to  you  against  the  accused  here  present  for 
flagrant  and  unprecedented  contempt  of  court." 

He  seated  himself  breathless,  wiping  away  the  great  drops 
that  fell  from  his  forehead  and  splashed  like  tears  upon  the 

197 


Notre-Dame  dc   Paris 

documents  spread  out  before  him.  Messire  Robert  d'Es- 
touteville  knit  his  brows  and  signed  to  Quasimodo  with  a 
gesture  so  imperious  and  significant,  that  the  deaf  hunchback 
in  some  degree  understood. 

The  Provost  addressed  him  sternly :  "  What  hast  thou 
done,  rascal,  to  be  brought  hither?" 

The  poor  wretch,  supposing  that  the  Provost  was  asking 
his  name,  now  broke  his  habitual  silence  and  answered  in 
hoarse,  guttural  tones,  "  Quasimodo." 

The  answer  corresponded  so  little  with  the  question  that 
the  former  unbridled  merriment  threatened  to  break  out  again, 
and  Messire  Robert,  crimson  with  anger,  roared,  "  Dost  dare 
to  mock  me  too,  arch-rogue  ?  " 

"  Bell-ringer  of  Notre-Dame,"  continued  Quasimodo, 
thinking  that  he  must  explain  to  the  judges  who  he  was. 

"  Bell-ringer !  "  returned  the  Provost,  who,  as  we  know, 
had  risen  that  morning  in  so  vile  a  temper  that  there  w^as 
no  need  to  add  fresh  fuel  to  the  fire  by  such  unwarrantable 
impudence.  "  Bell-ringer  indeed !  They  shall  ring  a  carillon 
of  rods  on  thy  back  at  every  street  corner  of  Paris.  Hearest 
thou,  rascal  ?  " 

"  If  it  is  my  age  you  desire  to  know,"  said  Quasimodo, 
"  I  think  I  shall  be  twenty  come  Martinmas." 

This  was  going  too  far;  the  Provost  could  contain  him- 
self no  longer. 

"  Ha,  miserable  knave,  thou  thinkest  to  make  sport  of  the 
law!  Sergeant  of  the  rod,  you  will  take  this  fellow  to  the 
pillory  in  the  Greve  and  there  flog  him  and  turn  him  for  an 
hour.  He  shall  pay  for  this,  tcte-Dicu!  And  I  command  that 
this  sentence  be  proclaimed  by  means  of  the  four  legally 
appointed  trumpeters  at  the  seven  castellanies  of  the  jurisdic- 
tion of  Paris." 

The  clerk  proceeded  forthwith  to  put  the  sentence  on 
record. 

"  Ventre-Dien!  I  call  that  giving  judgment  in  good 
style!"  said  little  Jehan  Frollo  of  the  Mill,  from  his  secluded 
corner. 

The  Provost  turned  and  again  transfixed  Quasimodo  with 
blazing  eye.  "  I  believe  the  rascal  said  '  Vcntrc-Dieu! '  Clerk, 
you  will  add  twelve  deniers  parisis  as  a  fine  for  swearing,  and 

198 


Impartial  Glance  at  Ancient  Magistracy 

let  one-half  of  it  go  to  the  Church  of  Saint-Eustache.  I  have 
a  particular  devotion  for  Saint-Eustache." 

A  few  minutes  later  and  the  sentence  was  drawn  up.  The 
language  was  brief  and  simple.  The  legal  procedure  of  the 
Provostry  and  bailiwick  of  Paris  had  not  yet  been  elaborated 
by  the  President,  Thibaut  Baillet,  and  Roger  Barmne,  King's 
advocate,  and  therefore  not  yet  obscured  by  that  forest  of 
chicanery  and  circumlocution  planted  in  it  by  these  two  law- 
yers at  the  beginning  of  the  sixteenth  century.  All  was  still 
clear,  rapid,  and  to  the  point.  There  was  no  beating  about 
the  bush,  and  straight  before  you,  at  the  end  of  every  path, 
you  had  a  full  view  of  the  wheel,  the  gibbet,  or  the  pillory. 
You  knew,  at  least,  exactly  where  you  were. 

The  clerk  presented  the  sentence  to  the  Provost,  who 
affixed  his  seal  to  it  and  then  departed,  to  continue  his  round 
through  the  several  courts  of  law,  in  a  frame  of  mind  which 
seemed  likely,  for  that  day,  to  fill  every  jail  in  Paris.  Jehan 
Frollo  and  Robin  Poussepain  were  laughing  in  their  sleeve, 
while  Quasimodo  regarded  the  whole  scene  with  an  air  of 
surprise  and  indifiference. 

Nevertheless,  the  clerk,  while  Maitre  Florian  was  engaged 
in  reading  over  the  judgment  before  signing  it  in  his  turn, 
felt  some  qualms  of  compassion  for  the  poor  devil  under 
sentence,  and  in  the  hope  of  obtaining  some  mitigation  of 
his  penalties,  bent  as  near  as  he  could  to  the  examiner's  ear, 
and  said,  pointing  to  Quasimodo,  "  The  man  is  deaf." 

He  hoped  that  the  knowledge  of  a  common  infirmity 
would  awaken  Maitre  Florian's  interest  in  favour  of  the  con- 
demned. But  in  the  first  place,  as  we  have  already  explained, 
Maitre  Florian  did  not  like  to  have  his  deafness  commented 
upon ;  and  secondly,  that  he  was  so  hard  of  hearing  that  he 
did  not  catch  one  word  the  clerk  was  saying.  Desiring,  how- 
ever, to  conceal  this  fact,  he  replied :  "  Ah !  that  makes  all  the 
difference.  I  did  not  know  that.  In  that  case,  one  more  hour 
of  pillory  for  him."  And,  this  modification  made,  he  signed 
the  sentence. 

"  And  serve  him  right  too,"  said  Robin  Poussepain,  who 
still  owed  Quasimodo  a  grudge ;  "  that'll  teach  him  to  handle 
folks  so  roughly." 

199 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 


II 

THE    RAT-HOLE 

With  the  reader's  permission  we  will  now  return  to  the 
Place  de  Greve,  which  was  quitted  yesterday  with  Gringoire, 
to  follow  Esmeralda. 

It  is  ten  in  the  morning,  and  everywhere  are  the  unmis- 
takable signs  of  the  day  after  a  public  holiday.  The  ground 
is  strewn  with  debris  of  every  description,  ribbons,  rags, 
plumes,  drops  of  wax  from  the  torches,  scraps  from  the  public 
feast.  A  good  many  of  the  townsfolk  are  "  loafing  about " — 
as  we  would  say  to-day — turning  over  the  extinguished  brands 
of  the  bonfire,  standing  in  front  of  the  Maison  aux  Piliers 
rapturously  recalling  the  fine  hangings  of  the  day  before,  and 
gazing  now  at  the  nails  which  fastened  them — last  taste  of 
vanished  joy — while  the  venders  of  beer  and  cider  roll  their 
casks  among  the  idle  groups.  A  few  pass  to  and  fro,  intent 
on  business ;  the  tradespeople  gossip  and  call  to  one  another 
from  their  shop  doors.  The  Festival,  the  Ambassadors,  Cop- 
penole,  the  Pope  of  Fools,  are  in  every  mouth,  each  vying 
with  the  other  as  to  who  shall  make  the  wittiest  comments 
and  laugh  the  loudest ;  while  four  mounted  officers  of  the 
peace,  who  have  just  posted  themselves  at  the  four  corners 
of  the  pillory,  have  already  drawn  away  a  considerable  por- 
tion of  the  idlers  scattered  about  the  square,  who  cheerfully 
submit  to  any  amount  of  tediousness  and  waiting,  in  expecta- 
tion of  a  little  exhibition  of  Justice. 

If  now,  after  contemplating  this  stirring  and  clamorous 
scene  which  is  being  enacted  at  every  corner  of  the  Place, 
the  reader  will  turn  his  attention  towards  the  ancient  building 
— half  Gothic,  half  Romanesque — called  the  Tour-Roland, 
forming  the  western  angle  of  the  quay,  he  will  notice,  at  one 
of  its  corners,  a  large,  richly  illuminated  breviary  for  the  use 
of  the  public,  protected  from  the  rain  by  a  small  pent-house 
and  from  thieves  by  a  grating,  which,  however,  allows  of  the 
passer-by  turning  over  the  leaves.  Close  beside  this  breviary 
is  a  narrow,  pointed  window  looking  on  to  the  square  and 
closed  by  an  iron  cross-bar,  the  only  aperture  by  which  a 

20O 


The  Rat-Hole 

little  air  and  light  can  penetrate  to  a  small,  doorless  cell  con- 
structed on  the  level  of  the  ground  within  the  thickness  of 
the  wall  of  the  old  mansion  and  filled  with  a  quiet  the  more 
profound,  a  silence  the  more  oppressive,  that  a  public  square, 
the  noisiest  and  most  populous  in  Paris,  is  swarming  and 
clamouring  round  it. 

This  cell  has  been  famous  in  Paris  for  three  centuries, 
ever  since  Mme.  Rolande  of  the  Tour-Roland,  mourning 
for  her  father  who  died  in  the  Crusades,  had  caused  it  to  be 
hollowed  out  of  the  wall  of  her  house  and  shut  herself  up 
in  it  forever;  retaining  of  all  her  great  mansion  but  this  one 
poor  chamber,  the  door  of  which  was  walled  up  and  the 
window  open  to  the  elements  winter  and  summer,  and  giving 
the  rest  of  her  possessions  to  the  poor  and  to  God.  The 
inconsolable  lady  had  lingered  on  for  twenty  years  awaiting 
death  in  this  premature  tomb,  praying  night  and  day  for  the 
soul  of  her  father,  making  her  bed  on  the  cold  ground  with- 
out even  a  stone  for  a  pillow,  clothed  in  sackcloth,  and  living 
only  upon  such  bread  and  water  as  the  compassionate  might 
deposit  on  the  ledge  of  her  window — thus  receiving  charity 
after  bestowing  it.  At  her  death,  at  the  moment  of  her  pass- 
ing to  another  sepulchre,  she  had  bequeathed  this  one  in  per- 
petuity to  women  in  afifliction — mothers,  widows,  or  maidens 
— who  should  have  many  prayers  to  offer  up  on  behalf  of  oth- 
ers or  of  themselves,  and  should  choose  to  bury  themselves 
alive  for  some  great  grief  or  some  great  penitence.  The  poor 
of  her  time  had  honoured  her  funeral  with_(tears  knd  benedic- 
tions ;  but,  to  their  great  regret,  the  pious  laay  had  been  unable 
to  receive  canonization  for  lack  of  interest  in  the  right  quarter. 
Nevertheless,  those  among  them  who  were  not  quite  so  pious 
as  they  should  have  been,  trusting  that  the  matter  might  be 
more  easily  arranged  in  heaven  than  in  Rome,  had  frankly 
oflfered  up  their  prayers  for  the  deceased  to  God  himself,  in 
default  of  the  Pope.  The  majority,  however,  had  contented 
themselves  with  holding  Rolande's  memory  sacred,  and  con- 
verting her  rags  into  relics.  The  town,  for  its  part,  had 
founded,  in  pursuance  of  the  lady's  intention,  a  public  breviary, 
which  had  been  permanently  fixed  beside  the  window  of  the 
cell,  that  the  passer-by  might  halt  there  for  a  moment,  if  only 
to  pray;  that  prayer  might  suggest  almsgiving,  and  thus  the 

201 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

poor  recluses,  inheriting  the  stone  cell  of  Mme.  Rolande, 
be  saved  from  perishing-  outright  of  hunger  and  neglect. 

These  living  tombs  were  by  no  means  rare  in  the  cities 
of  the  Middle  Ages.  Not  infrequently,  in  the  very  midst  of 
the  busiest  street,  the  most  crowded,  noisy  market-place, 
under  the  very  hoofs  of  the  horses  and  wheels  of  the  wagons, 
you  might  come  upon  a  vault,  a  pit,  a  walled  and  grated 
cell,  out  of  the  depths  of  which  a  human  being,  voluntarily 
dedicated  to  some  everlasting  lamentation,  or  some  great 
expiation,  offered  up  prayer  unceasingly  day  and  night.  But 
all  the  reflections  that  such  a  strange  spectacle  w^ould  awaken 
in  us  at  the  present  day ;  that  horrible  cell,  a  sort  of  inter- 
mediate link  between  the  dwelling  and  the  grave,  between 
the  cemetery  and  the  city ;  that  living  being  cut  off  from 
the  communion  of  mankind  and  already  numbered  with  the 
dead ;  that  lamp  consuming  its  last  drop  of  oil  in  the  dark- 
ness ;  that  remnant  of  life  flickering  out  in  the  pit ;  that 
whisper,  that  voice,  that  never-ending  prayer  encased  in  stone  : 
that  eye  already  ilkmiined  by  another  sun ;  that  ear  inclined 
attentive  to  the  walls  of  a  tomb;  that  soul  imprisoned  in  a 
body,  itself  a  prisoner  within  that  dungeon,  and  from  out 
that  double  incarnation  of  flesh  and  stone,  the  perpetual  plaint 
of  a  soul  in  agony — nothing  of  all  this  reached  the  apprehen- 
sion of  the  crowd.  The  piety  of  that  day,  little  given  to 
analyzing  or  subtle  reasoning,  did  not  regard  a  religious  act 
from  so  many  points  of  view.  It  accepted  the  thing  as  a  whole, 
honoured,  lauded,  and,  if  need  be,  made  a  saint  of  the  sacrifice, 
but  did  not  dwell  upon  its  sufferings  nor  even  greatly  pity 
it.  From  time  to  time  the  charitable  world  brought  some 
dole  to  the  wretched  penitent,  peered  through  the  window 
to  see  if  he  yet  lived,  was  ignorant  of  his  name,  scarcely 
knew  how  many  years  ago  he  had  begun  to  die,  and  to  the 
stranger  who  questioned  them  respecting  the  living  skeleton 
rotting  in  that  cave,  they  would  simply  answer :  "  It  is  the 
recluse." 

This  was  the  way  they  looked  at  things  in  those  days, 
without  metaphysics,  neither  enlarging  nor  diminishing,  with 
the  naked  eye.  The  microscope  had  not  been  invented  yet 
for  the  examination  either  of  material  or  spiritual  objects. 

Examples  of  this  kind  of  living  burial  in  the  heart  of  the 

202 


The  Rat-Hole 

town  were,  although  they  excited  but  Httle  remark,  fre- 
quently to  be  met  with,  as  we  have  said  before.  In  Paris 
there  was  a  considerable  number  of  these  cells  of  penitence 
and  prayer,  and  nearly  all  of  them  were  occupied.  It  is  true 
the  clergy  took  particular  care  that  they  should  not  be  left 
empty,  as  that  implied  lukewarmness  in  the  faithful ;  so  when 
penitents  were  not  to  the  fore,  lepers  were  put  in  instead. 
Besides  the  cell  at  the  Greve,  already  described,  there  was 
one  at  Montfaucon,  one  at  the  charnel-house  of  the  Inno- 
cents, another,  I  forget  just  where — at  the  Logis-Clichon,  I 
fancy ;  and  others  at  many  different  spots,  where,  in  default 
of  monuments,  their  traces  are  still  to  be  found  in  tradition. 
The  University  certainly  had  one ;  on  the  hill  of  Saint-Germain 
a  sort  of  mediaeval  Job  sat  for  thirty  years,  singing  the  peni- 
tential psalms  on  a  dung-heap  at  the  bottom  of  a  dry  well, 
beginning  anew  as  soon  as  he  came  to  the  end,  and  singing 
louder  in  the  night-time — magna  voce  per  wnbras;  and  to- 
day the  antiquary  still  fancies  that  he  hears  his  voice  as  he 
enters  the  Rue  du  Puits-qui-parle :  the  street  of  the  Talking 
Well. 

To  confine  ourselves  here  to  the  cell  in  the  Tour-Roland, 
we  confess  that  it  had  seldom  lacked  a  tenant — since  Mme. 
Rolande's  death  it  had  rarely  been  vacant,  even  for  a  year 
or  two.  Many  a  woman  had  shut  herself  up  there  to  weep 
until  death  for  her  parents,  her  lovers,  or  her  frailties.  Paris- 
ian flippancy,  which  will  meddle  with  everything,  especially 
with  such  as  are  outside  its  province,  declared  that  very  few 
widows  had  been  observed  among  the  number. 

After  the  manner  of  the  period,  a  Latin  legend  inscribed 
upon  the  wall  notified  to  the  lettered  wayfarer  the  pious  pur- 
pose of  the  cell.  This  custom  of  placing  a  brief  distinguish- 
ing motto  above  the  entrance  to  a  building  continued  down 
to  the  middle  of  the  sixteenth  century.  Thus,  in  France,  over 
the  gateway  of  the  prison  belonging  to  the  Manor-house  of 
Tourville,  stands,  Sileto  et  spera;  in  Ireland,  under  the 
escutcheon  above  the  great  gateway  of  Fortescue  Castle, 
Forte  scutum,  salus  ducwn ;  and  in  England,  over  the  principal 
entrance  of  the  hospitable  mansion  of  the  Earls  Cowper, 
Tiium  est.  For  in  those  days  every  edifice  expressed  a 
special  meaning. 

203 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

As  there  was  no  door  to  the  walled-up  cell  of  the  Tour- 
Roland,  they  had  engraved  above  the  window  in  great  Roman 
characters  the  two  words : 

TU,   ORA  * 

Whence  it  came  about  that  the  people,  whose  healthy- 
common  sense  fails  to  see  the  subtle  side  of  things,  and 
cheerfully  translates  Lndovko  Magno  by  Porte  Saint-Denis, 
had  corrupted  the  words  over  this  dark,  damp,  gloomy  cavity 
into  Trou-anx-rats,  or  Rat-Hole — a  rendering  less  sublime  per- 
haps than  the  original ;  but,  on  the  other  hand,  decidedly  more 
picturesque. 


Ill 

THE    STORY    OF   A   WHEATEN    CAKE 

At  the  time  at  which  the  events  of  this  story  occurred,  the 
cell  of  the  Tour-Roland  was  occupied,  and  if  the  reader 
desires  to  know  by  whom,  he  has  only  to  listen  to  the  con- 
versation of  three  worthy  gossips,  who,  at  the  moment  when 
we  attracted  his  attention  to  the  Rat-Hole,  were  directing 
their  steps  to  that  very  spot,  going  along  the  river-side  from 
the  Chatelet  towards  the  Place  de  Greve. 

Two  of  these  w'omen  were  dressed  after  the  fashion  of  the 
good  burgher  wives  of  Paris ;  their  fine  white  gorgets,  striped 
red  and  blue  woollen  kirtles,  white  knitted  hose  with  em- 
broidered clocks,  trimly  puUed  up  over  their  legs,  their  square- 
toed  shoes  of  tan-coloured  leather  with  black  soles,  and  above 
all,  their  head-dress — a  sort  of  tinsel-covered  horn,  loaded  with 
ribbons  and  lace,  still  worn  by  the  women  of  Champagne, 
and  the  Grenadiers  of  the  Russian  imperial  guard — proclaimed 
them  to  belong  to  that  class  of  rich  tradeswomen  who  hold 
the  medium  between  what  servants  call  "  a  woman "  and 
what  they  call  "  a  lady."  They  wore  neither  rings  nor  gold 
crosses ;  but  it  was  easy  to  perceive  that  this  was  owing  not 

*  Pray  thou. 
204 


The  Story  of  a  Wheaten  Cake 

to  poverty,  but  simply  out  of  fear  of  the  fine  incurred  by  so 
doing.  Their  companion's  dress  was  very  much  the  same ; 
but  there  was  in  her  appearance  and  manner  an  indefinable 
something  which  betrayed  the  wife  of  the  country  notary. 
Her  way  of  wearing  her  girdle  so  high  above  her  hips  would 
alone  have  proved  that  it  was  long  since  she  had  been  in 
Paris,  without  mentioning  that  her  gorget  was  plaited,  that 
she  wore  knots  of  ribbon  on  her  shoes,  that  the  stripes  of 
her  kirtle  ran  round  instead  of  down,  and  a  dozen  other 
crimes  against  the  prevailing  mode. 

The  first  two  walked  with  that  air  peculiar  to  Parisiennes 
showing  the  town  to  country  cousins.  The  countrywoman 
held  by  the  hand  a  chubby  little  boy,  who  in  his  hand  held 
a  big  wheaten  cake — and  we  regret  to  have  to  add  that,  owing 
to  the  inclemency  of  the  weather,  he  was  using  his  tongue 
as  a  pocket-handkerchief. 

The  boy  let  himself  be  dragged  along — non  passibus  ceqtiis, 
as  Virgil  says — with  uneven  steps,  stumbling  every  minute, 
to  the  great  annoyance  of  his  mother.  It  is  true  that  he 
looked  oftener  at  the  cake  than  on  the  ground.  Some  very 
serious  reason  must  have  prevented  him  from  biting  into 
the  cake,  for  he  contented  himself  with  merely  gazing  at  it 
affectionately.  But  the  mother  would  have  done  better  to 
take  charge  of  the  tempting  morsel  herself.  It  was  cruel  to 
make  a  Tantalus  of  poor  chubby-cheeks. 

Meanwhile,  the  three  "  damoiselles "  (for  the  title  of 
"  dame  "  was  reserved  then  for  the  women  of  noble  birth) 
were  all  talking  at  once. 

"  We  must  hasten,  Damoiselle  Mahiette,"  said  the  young- 
est of  the  three,  who  was  also  the  fattest,  to  their  country 
friend.  "  I  fear  me  we  shall  be  too  late.  They  told  us  at 
the  Chatelet  that  he  was  to  be  carried  to  the  pillory 
immediately." 

"  Ah — bah !  What  are  you  talking  about,  Damoiselle 
Oudarde  Musnier?"  returned  the  other  Parisienne.  "He 
will  be  a  good  two  hours  on  the  pillory.  We  have  plenty 
of  time.  Have  you  ever  seen  anybody  pilloried,  my  dear 
Mahiette?" 

"  Yes,"  said  Mahiette,  "  at  Reims." 

"  Pooh !  what's  your  pillory  at   Reims  ?     A   paltr>'   cage 

205 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

where  they  put  nobody  but  clowns !  That's  not  worth  calling 
.  a  pillory  !  " 

"  Nobody  but  clowns ! "  cried  Mahiette.  "  In  the  Cloth- 
Market  at  Reims !  Let  me  tell  you,  we  have  had  some  very 
fine  criminals  there — who  had  killed  father  and  mother ! 
Clowns  indeed!     What  do  you  take  me  for,  Gervaise?" 

And  there  is  no  doubt  the  country  lady  was  on  the  point 
of  flying  into  a  rage  for  this  disparagement  of  her  pillory, 
but  fortunately  the  discreet  Damoiselle  Oudarde  Musnier 
turned  the  conversation  in  time. 

"  By-the-bye,  Damoiselle  Mahiette,  what  think  you  of  our 
Flemish  Ambassadors  ?     Have  you  any  as  grand  at  Reims  ?  " 

"  I  must  confess,"  answered  Mahiette,  "  that  it's  only  in 
Paris  you  see  such  Flemings  as  these." 

"  Did  you  see  among  the  embassy  that  great  Ambassador 
who's  a  hosier?"  asked  Oudarde. 

"  Yes,"  said  Mahiette,  "  he  looks  like  a  Saturn." 

"  And  that  fat  one,  with  a  face  like  a  bare  paunch,"  Ger- 
vaise went  on ;  "  and  the  little  one,  with  small,  blinking  eyes 
and  red  eye-lids  with  half  the  lashes  pulled  out  like  a  with- 
ered thistle?" 

"  But  their  horses  are  a  treat  to  look  at,"  said  Oudarde, 
"  all  dressed  after  the  fashion  of  their  country !  " 

"  Ah,  my  dear,"  interrupted  country  Mahiette,  assuming 
in  her  turn  an  air  of  superiority,  "  what  would  you  have  said 
then,  if  you  had  seen  the  horses  of  the  Princess  and  the  whole 
retinue  of  the  King  at  the  coronation  at  Reims  in  '6i — 
twenty-one  years  ago !  Such  housings  and  caparisons ! 
Some  of  Damascus  cloth,  fine  cloth  of  gold,  and  lined  with 
sable  fur ;  others  of  velvet  and  ermine ;  others  heavy  with 
goldsmith's  work  and  great  tassels  of  gold  and  silver!  And 
the  money  that  it  must  all  have  cost !  And  the  beautiful 
pages  riding  them  !  " 

"  But  for  all  that,"  replied  Damoiselle  Oudarde  dryly, 
"  the  Flemings  have  splendid  horses ;  and  yesterday  a  sump- 
tuous supper  was  given  them  by  Monsieur  the  Provost- 
Merchant  at  the  H6tel-de-Ville,  at  which  sweetmeats,  and 
hippocras,  and  spices,  and  the  like  delicacies,  were  set  before 
them." 

"  What  are  you  saying,  neighbour !  "  exclaimed  Gervaise. 

206 


The  Story  of  a  Wheaten   Cake 

"  Why,  it  was  with  the  Lord  Cardinal,  at  the  Petit-Bourbon, 
that  the  Flemings  supped." 

"  Not  at  all !    At  the  H6tel-de-Ville  !  " 

"  No,  it  wasn't — it  was  at  the  Petit-Bourbon." 

"  I  know  that  it  was  at  the  H6tel-de-Ville,"  retorted 
Oudarde  sharply,  "  for  the  very  good  reason  that  Doctor 
Scourable  made  them  a  speech  in  Latin,  with  which  they 
were  very  well  satisfied.  My  husband  told  me,  and  he  is  one 
of  the  sworn  booksellers." 

"  And  I  know  that  it  was  at  the  Petit-Bourbon,"  responded 
Gervaise  no  less  warmly,  "  for  I  can  tell  you  exactly  what  my 
Lord  Cardinal's  purveyor  set  before  them :  twelve  double 
quarts  of  hippocras,  white,  pale,  and  red ;  twenty-four  boxes  of 
gilded  double  marchpanes  of  Lyons ;  four-and-twenty  wax 
torches  of  two  pounds  apiece ;  and  six  demi-hogsheads  of 
Beaune  wine,  both  white  and  yellow,  the  best  that  could  be 
procured.  I  hope  that's  proof  enough !  I  have  it  from  my 
husband,  who's  Captain  of  the  fifty  guards  at  the  Chatelet, 
who  only  this  morning  was  making  a  comparison  between  the 
Flemish  Ambassadors  and  those  of  Prester  John  and  the 
Emperor  of  Trebizonde,  who  came  to  Paris  from  Meso- 
potamia and  wore  rings  in  their  ears." 

"  So  true  is  it  that  they  supped  at  the  Hotel  de  Ville," 
replied  Oudarde,  quite  unmoved  by  this  string  of  evidence, 
"  that  never  was  seen  so  fine  a  show  of  meats  and  delicacies." 

"  I  tell  you  they  were  served  by  Le  Sec,  the  town  ser- 
geant at  the  Petit-Bourbon,  and  that  is  what  has  put 
you  wrong." 

"  At  the  H6tel-de-Ville,  I  say." 

"  At  the  Petit-Bourbon,  my  dear !  And  what's  more, 
they  lit  up  the  word  '  Hope,'  which  stands  over  the  great 
doorway,  with  fairy  glasses." 

"At  the  H6tel-de-Ville !  At  the  H6tel-de-Ville !— for 
Husson  le  Voir  played  the  flute  to  them." 

"  I  tell  you,  no !  " 

"  I  tell  you,  yes !  " 

"  I  tell  you,  no  !  " 

The  good,  fat  Oudarde  was  preparing  to  reply,  and  the 
quarrel  would  no  doubt  have  ended  in  the  pulling  of  caps, 
had  not  Mahiette  suddenly  made  a  diversion  by  exclaiming: 
K  207  Vol.  4 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  Look  at  those  people  gathered  over  there  at  the  end 
of  the  bridge.  There's  something  in  the  middle  of  the  crowd 
that  they're  looking  at." 

"  True,"  said  Gervaise.  "  I  hear  a  tambourine.  I  think 
it  must  be  little  Esmeralda  doing  tricks  with  her  goat.  Quick, 
Mahiette,  mend  your  pace  and  bring  your  boy !  You  came 
to  see  the  sights  of  Paris.  Yesterday  you  saw  the  Flemings ; 
to-day  you  must  see  the  gipsy." 

"  The  gipsy !  "  cried  Mahiette,  turning  round  and  clutching 
her  boy  by  the  arm.  "  God  preserve  us !  She  might  steal 
my  child  !     Come,  Eustache !  " 

And  she  set  ofif  running  along  the  quay  towards  the  Greve 
till  she  had  left  the  bridge  far  behind  her.  Presently  the  boy, 
whom  she  dragged  rapidly  after  her,  stumbled  and  fell  on 
his  knees.  She  drew  up  breathless,  and  Oudarde  and  Ger- 
vaise were  able  to  join  her. 

"  That  gipsy  steal  your  child !  "  said  Gervaise.  "  What  a 
very  strange  notion !  " 

Mahiette  shook  her  head  thoughtfully, 

"  The  strange  thing  about  it,"  observed  Oudarde,  "  is 
that  the  sachdte  has  the  same  notion  about  the  Egyptian 
women." 

"The  sachette?"  asked  Mahiette.     "What  is  that?" 

"  Why,  Sister  Gudule,  to  be  sure,"  answered  Oudarde. 

"  And  who  is  Sister  Gudule  ?  " 

"  It  is  very  evident  that  you  have  lived  in  Reims  not 
to  know  that !  "  exclaimed  Oudarde.  "  That  is  the  nun  in 
the  Rat-Hole." 

"  What  ?  "  said  Mahiette,  "  not  the  poor  woman  we  are 
taking  this  cake  to?" 

Oudarde  nodded.  "  Yes,  the  very  one.  You  will  see  her 
directly  at  her  window  looking  on  the  Greve.  She  thinks 
the  same  as  you  about  these  vagabonds  of  Egypt  that  go 
about  with  their  tambourines  and  fortune-telling.  Nobody 
knows  why  she  has  this  abhorrence  of  Zingari  and  Egyptians. 
But  you,  Mahiette,  why  should  you  run  away  at  the  mere 
sight  of  them  ?  " 

"  Oh,"  answered  Mahiette,  clasping  her  boy's  fair  head 
to  her  bosom,  "  I  would  not  have  that  happen  to  me  that 
happened  to  Paquette  la  Chantefleurie." 

208 


The  Story  of  a  Wheaten   Cake 

"  Oh,  you  must  tell  us  that  story,  my  good  Mahiette,"  said 
Gervaise,  taking  her  arm. 

"  Willingly,"  returned  Mahiette,  "  but  it  is  very  evident 
that  you  have  lived  in   Paris   not  to   know   it !     Well,   you 
must  know — but  there  is  no  need  for  us  to  stand  still  while 
I  tell  you  the  story — that  Paquette  la  Chantefleurie  was  a 
pretty  girl  of  eighteen  when"  n6o  was" ^fie^—^that  is  to  say, 
eighteen  years  ago — and  has  had  only  herself  to  blame   if 
she's  not,  like  me,  a  buxom,  hearty  woman  of  six-and-thirty, 
with  a  husband  and  a  fine  bov.     But  there! — from  the  time 
she  was  fourteen  it  was  too  late!     I  must  tell  you,  then,  that 
she    was    the    daughter    of    Guybertaut,    a    boat-minstrel    at 
Reims,   the   same  that  played  before   King   Charles   VII   at 
his  coronation,  when  he  went  down   our  river  Vesle  from 
Sillery  to  Muison,  and  had  Mme,  la  Pucelle — the   Maid  of 
Orleans — in  the  same  boat  with  him.     The  old  father  died 
when  Paquette  was  quite  little,  so  she  had  only  her  mother, 
who  was  sister  to  M.  Pradon,  a  master-brasier  and  tinsmith 
in  Paris,  Rue  Parin-Garlin,  and  who  died  last  year — so  you 
see,  she  was  of  good  family.     The  mother  was  a  simple,  easy- 
going creature,  unfortunately,  and  never  taught  her  anything 
really  useful — just  a  little  needlework  and  toy-making,  which 
did  not  prevent  her  growing  tall  and  strong,  and  remaining 
very  poor.     They  lived  together  at  Reims,  by  the  river-side, 
in  the  Rue  de  Folle-Peine — mark  that ! — for  I  believe  that 
is   what   brought   trouble    to    Paquette.      Well,    in    '6i — the 
year  of  the  Coronation  of  our  King  Louis  XI,  whom  God 
preserve ! — Paquette  was   so  gay   and   so   fair  that   she  was 
known  far  and  wide  as  '  La  Chantefleurie  ' — poor  girl !     She 
had  pretty  teeth,  and  she  was  fond  of  laughing,  to  show  them. 
Now,  a  girl  who  is  overfond  of  laughing  is  well  on  the  way 
to  tears ;  pretty  teeth  are  the  ruin  of  pretty  eyes — and  thus 
it   befell    Chantefleurie.     She    and   her   mother    had    a    hard 
struggle   to   gain   a   living;   they   had   sunk   very   low   since 
the  father's  death — their  needlework  brought  them  in  barely 
six  deniers  a  week,  which  is  not  quite  two  Hards.     Time  was 
when  Guybertaut  had  got  twelve  sols  parisis  at  a  coronation 
for  a  single  song !     One  winter — it  was  that  same  year  of  '6i 
— the  two  women  had  not  a  log  or  a  fagot,  and  it  was  very 
cold,  and  this  gave  Chantefleurie  such  a  beautiful  colour  in 

209 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

her  cheeks  that  the  men  all  looked  after  her  and  she  was 
ruined. — Eustache !  just  let  me  see  you  take  a  bite  out  of  that 
cake ! — We  saw  in  a  moment  that  she  was  ruined  when  one 
Sunday  she  came  to  church  with  a  gold  cross  on  her  neck. 
At  fourteen — what  do  you  say  to  that?  The  first  was  the 
young  Vicomte  de  Cormontreuil,  whose  castle  is  about  three- 
quarters  of  a  mile  from  Reims ;  then  it  was  Messire  Henri 
de  Triancourt,  the  King's  outrider ;  then,  coming  down  the 
scale,  Chiart  de  Beaulion,  a  man-at-arms ;  then,  still  lower, 
Guery  Aubergeon,  king's  carver;  then  Mace  de  Frepus, 
barber  to  Monsieur  the  Dauphin ;  then  Thevenin  le  Moine, 
one  of  the  royal  cooks ;  then,  still  going  down,  from  the 
young  to  the  old,  from  high  to  low  birth,  she  fell  to  Guil- 
laume  Racine,  viol  player,  and  to  Thierry  de  Mer,  lamp-maker. 
After  that,  poor  Chantefleurie,  she  became  all  things  to  all 
men  and  had  come  to  her  last  sou.  What  think  you,  damoi- 
selles,  at  the  coronation,  in  that  same  year  '6i,  it  was  she 
who  made  the  bed  for  the  chief  of  the  bawdies ! — in  that  same 
year !  "     Mahiette  sighed  and  wiped  away  a  tear. 

"  But  I  see  nothing  so  very  extraordinary  in  this  story," 
said  Gervaise,  "  and  there  is  no  word  either  of  Egyptians 
or  children." 

"  Patience,"  returned  Mahiette ;  "  as  for  the  child,  I  am 
just  coming  to  that.  In  '66,  sixteen  years  ago  this  month, 
on  Saint-Paul's  day,  Paquette  was  brought  to  bed  of  a  little 
girl.  Poor  creature,  she  was  overjoyed — she  had  long  craved 
to  have  a  child.  Her  mother,  foolish  woman,  who  had  never 
done  anything  but  close  her  eyes  to  what  was  going  on, 
her  mother  was  dead.  Paquette  had  no  one  in  the  world  to 
love  or  to  love  her.  For  the  five  years  since  she  had  fallen, 
poor  Paquette  had  been  a  miserable  creature.  She  was  alone, 
all  alone  in  the  world,  pointed  at,  shouted  at  through  the 
streets,  beaten  by  the  sergeants,  and  jeered  at  by  little  ragged 
boys.  Besides,  she  was  already  twenty,  and  twenty  means 
old  age  for  a  courtesan.  Her  frailty  now  began  to  bring 
her  in  no  more  than  did  her  needlework  formerly :  for  every 
line  in  her  face  she  lost  a  crown  in  her  pocket.  Winter  came 
hard  to  her  again,  wood  was  growing  scarce  in  her  fire-place 
and  bread  in  her  cupboard.  She  could  not  work,  because,  by 
giving  way  to  pleasure  she  had  given  way  to  idleness,  and 

2IO 


The  Story  of  a  Wheaten   Cake 

she  felt  hardships  the  more  because  by  giving  way  to  idleness 
she  had  given  way  to  pleasure.  At  least,  that  is  how  Monsieur 
the  Cure  of  Saint-Remy  explains  why  those  sort  of  women 
feel  cold  and  hunger  more  than  other  poor  females  do  when 
they  get  old." 

"Yes,"  observed  Gervaise,  "but  about  these  gipsies?" 

"  Wait  a  moment,  Gervaise,"  said  Oudarde,  who  was  of 
a  less  impatient  temperament;  "what  should  we  have  at  the 
end  if  everything  was  at  the  beginning?  Go  on,  Mahiette, 
I  pray  you.     Alas,  poor  Chantefleurie !  " 

"  Well,"  Mahiette  continued,  "  so  she  was  very  sad  and 
very  wretched,  and  her  cheeks  grew  hollow  with  her  per- 
petual tears.  But  in  all  her  shame,  her  infamy,  her  loneliness, 
she  felt  she  would  be  less  ashamed,  less  infamous,  less  de- 
serted, if  only  there  was  something  or  somebody  in  the  world 
she  could  love,  or  that  would  love  her.  She  knew  it  would 
have  to  be  a  child,  for  only  a  child  could  be  ignorant 
enough  for  that.  This  she  had  come  to  see  after  trying  to 
love  a  robber — the  only  man  who  would  have  anything  to  do 
with  her — but  in  a  little  while  she  found  that  even  the  robber 
despised  her.  These  light-o'-loves  must  needs  always  have 
a  lover  or  a  child  to  fill  their  hearts,  or  they  are  most  unhappy. 
As  she  could  not  get  a  lover,  all  her  desire  turned  towards 
having  a  child ;  and,  as  she  had  all  along  been  pious,  she 
prayed  unceasingly  to  God  to  send  her  one.  So  God  took 
compassion  on  her  and  sent  her  a  little  girl.  I  will  not  try 
to  describe  to  you  her  joy — it  was  a  passion  of  tears  and 
kisses  and  caresses.  She  suckled  it  herself,  and  made  swad- 
dling-bands for  it  out  of  her  coverlet — the  only  one  she  had 
upon  her  bed,  but  now  she  felt  neither  cold  nor  hunger. 
Her  beauty  came  back  to  her — an  old  maid  makes  a  young 
mother — and  poor  Chantefleurie  went  back  to  her  old  trade 
and  found  customers  for  her  wares,  and  laid  out  the  wages 
of  her  sin  in  swaddling-clothes  and  bibs  and  tuckers,  lace 
robes,  and  little  satin  caps — without  so  much  as  a  thought 
for  a  new  coverlet  for  herself. 

"  Master  Eustache,  did  I  not  tell  you  not  to  eat  that  cake  ? 
— In  truth,  the  little  Agnes,  that  was  the  child's  name — its 
baptismal  name,  for,  as  to  a  surname,  it  was  long  since 
Chantefleurie  had  lost  hers — in  very  truth,  the  little  one  was 

211 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

more  of  a  mass  of  ribbons  and  broideries  than  ever  a  dau- 
phiness  of  Dauphiny !  Among  other  things,  she  had  a  pair  of 
little  shoes  such  as  King  Louis  himself  never  had  the  like. 
Her  mother  had  stitched  them  and  embroidered  them  herself, 
bestowing  upon  them  all  her  art  and  the  ornament  that  ought 
more  properly  to  belong  to  a  robe  for  Our  Lady.  In  good 
sooth,  they  were  the  prettiest  little  rose-coloured  shoes  that 
ever  were  seen ;  no  longer  at  most  than  my  thumb,  and 
unless  you  saw  the  babe's  little  feet  come  out  of  them,  you 
never  would  have  believed  that  they  could  get  in.  To  be 
sure  the  little  feet  were  so  small,  so  pretty,  so  rosy ! — rosier 
than  the  satin  of  the  shoes !  When  you  have  children  of  your 
own,  Oudarde,  you  will  know  that  there  is  nothing  in  the 
world  so  pretty  as  those  little  hands  and  feet." 

"  I  ask  nothing  better,"  said  Oudarde  with  a  sigh ;  "  but 
I  must  await  the  good  pleasure  of  M.  Andry  Musnier." 

"  However,"  resumed  Mahiette,  "  pretty  feet  were  not  the 
only  beauty  that  Paquette's  child  possessed.  I  saw  her  when 
she  was  four  months  old — a  chuck ! — with  eyes  bigger  than 
her  mouth,  and  beautiful  soft,  black  hair  that  curled  already. 
She  would  have  made  a  fine  brunette  at  sixteen !  Her  mother 
loved  her  more  day  by  day.  She  hugged  and  kissed  and 
fondled  her,  washed  her,  tricked  her  out  in  all  her  finery, 
devoured  her — one  moment  half-crazed,  the  next  thanking 
God  for  the  gift  of  this  babe.  But  its  pretty  rosy  feet  were 
her  chief  delight  and  wonder — a  very  delirium  of  joy !  She 
was  forever  pressing  her  lips  to  them,  forever  marvelling  at 
their  smallness.  She  would  put  them  into  the  little  shoes,  take 
them  out  again,  wonder  at  them,  hold  them  up  to  the  light ; 
she  was  sorry  even  to  teach  them  to  take  a  step  or  two  on 
her  bed,  and  would  gladly  have  passed  the  rest  of  her  life 
on  her  knees,  covering  and  uncovering  those  little  feet,  like 
those  of  an  Infant  Jesus." 

"The  tale  is  all  very  well,"  said  Gervaise,  half  to  herself; 
"  but  where  is  Egypt  in  all  this  ?  " 

"  Here,"  replied  Mahiette.  "  One  day  there  came  to 
Reims  some  very  outlandish  sort  of  gentry — beggars  and 
vagabonds — wandering  about  the  country,  led  by  their  dukes 
and  counts.  Their  faces  were  sun-burnt,  their  hair  all  curling, 
and  they  had  silver  rings  in  their  ears.     The  women  were 

212 


The  Story  of  a   Wheaten   Cake 

even  more  ill-favoured  than  the  men.  Their  faces  were 
blacker  and  always  uncovered,  their  only  clothing  an  old 
woollen  cloth  tied  over  their  shoulders,  and  a  sorry  rocket 
under  that,  and  the  hair  hanging  loose  like  a  horse's  tail.  The 
children  that  scrambled  about  between  their  feet  would  have 
frightened  the  monkeys.  An  excommunicated  band !  They 
had  come  direct  from  Lower  Egypt  to  Reims  by  way  of  Po- 
land, The  Pope  had  confessed  them,  so  they  said,  and  had  laid 
on  them  the  penance  of  wandering  for  seven  years  through  the 
world  without  ever  sleeping  in  a  bed.  So  they  called  them- 
selves penitents  and  stank  most  horribly.  It  would  seem  they 
had  formerly  been  Saracens,  and  that  is  why  they  believed  in 
Jupiter,  and  demanded  ten  livres  tournois  from  all  Arch- 
bishops, Bishops,  and  Abbots  endowed  with  crosier  and  mitre. 
It  was  a  bull  of  the  Pope  that  got  them  that.  They  came 
to  Reims  to  tell  fortunes  in  the  name  of  the  King  of  Algiers, 
and  the  Emperor  of  Germany.  As  you  may  suppose,  that 
was  quite  enough  for  them  to  be  forbidden  to  enter  the  town. 
Then  the  whole  band  encamped  without  demur  near  the 
Braine  gate,  upon  that  mound  where  there's  a  wind-mill, 
close  by  the  old  chalk-pits.  And  of  course  all  Reims  was 
agog  to  see  them.  They  looked  in  your  hand,  and  prophesied 
most  wonderful  things — they  were  quite  bold  enough  to  have 
foretold  to  Judas  that  he  would  be  Pope.  At  the  same  time, 
there  were  ugly  stories  about  them — of  stolen  children,  and 
cutpurses,  and  the  eating  of  human  flesh.  The  prudent 
warned  the  foolish,  and  said,  '  Go  not  near  them!'  and  then 
went  themselves  by  stealth.  Everybody  was  carried  away  by 
it.  In  sober  truth,  they  told  you  things  to  have  amazed  a 
Cardinal !  The  mothers  made  much  of  their  children  after 
the  gipsy  women  had  read  in  their  hands  all  manner  of 
miracles  written  in  Pagan  and  in  Turkish.  One  had  an 
Emperor,  another  a  Pope,  a  third  a  Captain.  Poor  Chante- 
fleurie  caught  the  fever  of  curiosity.  She  wanted  to  know 
vv'hat  she  had  got,  and  whether  her  pretty  little  Agnes  would 
not  one  day  be  Empress  of  Armenia  or  the  like.  So  she 
carried  her  to  the  Egyptians,  and  the  Egyptian  women  ad- 
mired the  child,  fondled  it,  kissed  it  with  their  black  mouths, 
and  were  lost  in  wonder  over  its  little  hands — alas !  to  the 
great  joy  of  its  mother.     Above  all,  they  were  delighted  with 

213 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

its  pretty  feet  and  pretty  shoes.  The  child  was  not  yet  a 
year  old,  and  was  just  beginning  to  prattle  a  word  or  two — 
laughed  and  crowed  at  her  mother — was  fat  and  round,  and 
had  a  thousand  little  gestures  of  the  angels  in  Paradise.  The 
child  was  frightened  at  the  black  gipsy  woman,  and  cried ;  but 
the  mother  only  kissed  her  the  more,  and  carried  her  away, 
overjoyed  at  the  good  fortune  the  prophetess  had  foretold  to 
her  Agnes.  She  would  become  a  famous  beauty — a  wonder 
— a  queen.  So  she  returned  to  her  garret  in  the  Rue  Folle- 
Peine,  proud  to  bring  back  with  her  a  queen.  The  next  day 
she  seized  a  moment  when  the  child  was  asleep  on  her  bed — 
for  it  always  slept  with  her — ^left  the  door  ajar,  and  ran  to 
tell  a  neighbour  in  the  Rue  de  la  Sechesserie  that  the  day 
would  come  when  her  daughter  Agnes  would  be  served  at  her 
table  by  the  King  of  England  and  the  Duke  of  Ethiopia,  and 
a  hundred  other  surprises.  On  her  return,  hearing  no  sound 
as  she  mounted  her  stair,  she  said,  '  Good,  the  child  is  still 
asleep.'  She  found  the  door  more  open  than  she  had  left  it ; 
she  entered,  and  ran  to  the  bed — poor  mother ! — the  child  was 
gone,  the  place  empty.  There  was  no  trace  left  of  the  child, 
excepting  one  of  its  little  shoes.  She  fled  out  of  the  room 
and  down  the  stairs  and  began  beating  her  head  against  the 
wall,  crying :  *  My  child !  Who  has  my  child  ?  Who  has 
taken  my  child  from  me  ? '  The  street  was  empty,  the  house 
stood  by  itself,  no  one  could  tell  her  anything.  She  hastened 
through  the  city,  searching  every  street,  running  hither  and 
thither  the  whole  day,  mad,  distraught,  terrible  to  behold, 
looking  in  at  every  door  and  every  window  like  a  wild  beast 
robbed  of  its  young.  She  was  breathless,  dishevelled,  terri- 
fying, with  a  flame  in  her  eyes  that  dried  her  tears.  She 
stopped  the  passers-by  and  cried,  '  My  child !  my  child !  my 
pretty  little  girl !  To  him  who  will  restore  my  child  to  me  I 
will  be  a  servant,  the  servant  of  his  dog — and  he  may  eat  my 
heart  if  he  will !  '  She  met  Monsieur  the  Cure  of  Saint- 
Remy,  and  to  him  she  said :  '  Monsieur  the  Cure,  I  will  dig 
the  earth  with  my  nails,  but  give  me  back  my  child ! ' 
Oudarde,  it  was  heart-rending,  and  I  saw  a  very  hard  man, 
Maitre  Ponce  Lacabre  the  attorney,  shedding  tears.  Ah, 
the  poor  mother!  At  night  she  returned  to  her  home.  Dur- 
ing her  absence,  a  neighbour  had  seen  two  Egyptian  women 

214 


The  Story  of  a  Wheaten  Cake 

steal  up  her  stair  with  a  bundle  in  their  arms,  then  come 
down  again  after  closing  the  door,  and  hasten  away.  After- 
ward she  had  heard  something  that  sounded  like  a  child's  cry 
from  Paquette's  room.  The  mother  broke  into  mad  laughter, 
sprang  up  the  stair  as  if  she  had  wings,  burst  open  the  door 
like  an  explosion  of  artillery,  and  entered  the  room.  Horrible 
to  relate,  Oudarde,  instead  of  her  sweet  little  Agnes,  so  rosy 
and  fresh,  a  gift  from  Heaven,  a  sort  of  hideous  little  mon- 
ster, crippled,  one-eyed,  all  awry,  was  crawling  and  whim- 
pering on  the  floor.     She  covered  her  eyes  in  horror. 

"  '  Ah !  '  she  cried,  '  can  these  sorceresses  have  changed 
my  little  girl  into  this  frightful  beast  ? '  They  removed  the 
misshapen  lump  as  quickly  as  possible  out  of  her  sight ;  it 
would  have  driven  her  mad.  It  was  a  boy,  the  monstrous 
offspring  of  some  Egyptian  woman  and  the  Foul  Fiend,  about 
four  years  old,  and  speaking  a  language  like  no  human 
tongue,  impossible  to  understand.  La  Chantefleurie  had 
thrown  herself  upon  the  little  shoe,  all  that  remained  to  her  of 
her  heart's  delight,  and  lay  so  long  motionless,  without  a  word 
or  a  breath,  that  we  thought  she  was  dead.  But  suddenly 
her  whole  body  began  to  tremble,  and  she  fell  to  covering 
her  relic  with  frantic  kisses,  sobbing  the  while  as  if  her 
heart  would  break.  I  do  assure  you,  we  were  all  weeping 
with  her  as  she  cried :  '  Oh,  my  little  girl !  my  pretty  little 
girl !  where  art  thou  ? '  It  rent  the  very  soul  to  hear  her ;  I 
weep  now  when  I  think  of  it.  Our  children,  look  you,  are 
the  very  marrow  of  our  bones. — My  poor  little  Eustache, 
thou  too  art  so  beautiful ! — Could  you  but  know  how  clever 
he  is !  It  was  but  yesterday  he  said  to  me,  '  Mother,  I  want 
to  be  a  soldier.' — Oh,  my  Eustache,  what  if  I  were  to  lose 
thee ! — Well,  of  a  sudden,  La  Chantefleurie  sprang  to  her 
feet  and  ran  through  the  streets  of  the  town  crying :  '  To 
the  camp  of  the  Egyptians !  to  the  camp  of  the  Egyp- 
tians !  Sergeants,  to  burn  the  witches !  '  The  Egyptians 
were  gone — deep  night  had  fallen,  and  they  could  not  be 
pursued.  Next  day,  two  leagues  from  Reims,  on  a  heath 
between  Gueux  and  Tilloy,  were  found  the  remains  of  a 
great  fire,  some  ribbons  that  had  belonged  to  Paquette's 
child,  some  drops  of  blood,  and  goat's  dung.  The  night 
just  past  had  been  that  of  Saturday.     Impossible  to  doubt 

215 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

that  the  gipsies  had  kept  their  Sabbath  on  this  heath, 
and  had  devoured  the  infant  in  company  with  Beelzebub,  as 
is  the  custom  among  the  Mahometans.  When  La  Chante- 
fleurie  heard  of  these  horrible  things  she  shed  no  tear,  her 
lips  moved  as  if  to  speak,  but  no  words  came.  On  the 
morrow  her  hair  was  gray,  and  the  day  after  that  she  had 
disappeared." 

"  A  terrible  story  indeed,"  said  Oudarde,  "  and  one  that 
would  draw  tears  from  a  Burgundian !  " 

"  I  do  not  wonder  now,"  added  Gervaise,  "  that  the  fear 
of  the  Egyptians  should  pursue  you." 

"  And  you  were  the  better  advised,"  said  Oudarde,  "  in 
running  away  with  your  Eustache,  seeing  that  these,  too,  are 
Egyptians  from  Poland." 

"  No,"  said  Gervaise,  "  it  is  said  they  come  from  Spain 
and  Catalonia." 

"  Catalonia  ?  Well,  that  may  be,"  answered  Oudarde. 
"  Polognia,  Catalonia,  Valonia — I  always  confound  those  three 
provinces.     The  sure  thing  is  that  they're  Egyptians." 

"  And  as  sure,"  added  Gervaise,  "  that  they've  teeth  long 
enough  to  eat  little  children.  And  I  would  not  be  surprised 
if  La  Esmeralda  did  a  little  of  that  eating,  for  all  she  purses 
up  her  mouth  so  small.  That  w^hite  goat  of  hers  knows  too 
many  cunning  tricks  that  there  should  not  be  some  devilry 
behind  it." 

Mahiette  pursued  her  way  in  silence,  sunk  in  that  kind 
of  reverie  which  is  in  some  sort  a  prolongation  of  any  pitiful 
tale,  and  does  not  cease  till  it  has  spread  its  emotion,  wave 
upon  wave,  to  the  innermost  recesses  of  the  heart. 

"  And  was  it  never  known  what  became  of  La  Chante- 
fleurie  ?  "  asked  Gervaise.  But  Mahiette  made  no  reply  till 
Gervaise,  repeating  her  question,  and  shaking  her  by  the 
arm,  seemed  to  awaken  her  from  her  musings. 

"  What  became  of  Chantefleurie  ?  "  said  she,  mechanically 
repeating  the  words  just  fresh  in  her  ear;  then,  with  an  effort, 
to  recall  her  attention  to  their  sense :  "  Ah,"  she  added 
quickly,  "  that  was  never  known." 

After  a  pause  she  went  on :  "  Some  said  they  had  seen 
her  leave  the  town  in  the  dusk  by  the  Flechembault  gate ; 
others,  at  the  break  of  day  by  the  old  Basee  gate.     A  poor 

2i6 


The  Story  of  a  Wheaten  Cake 

man  found  her  gold  cross  hung  upon  the  stone  cross  in  the 
field  where  the  fair  is  held.  It  was  that  trinket  that  had 
ruined  her  in  '6i — a  gift  from  the  handsome  Vicomte  de 
Cormontreuil,  her  first  lover.  Paquette  would  never  part 
with  it,  even  in  her  greatest  poverty — she  clung  to  it  as  to 
her  life.  So,  seeing  this  cross  abandoned,  we  all  thought 
she  must  be  dead.  Nevertheless,  some  people  at  the  Cabaret 
des  Vautes  came  forward  and  protested  they  had  seen  her 
pass  by  on  the  road  to  Paris,  walking  barefoot  over  the  rough 
stones.  But  then  she  must  have  gone  out  by  the  Vesle  gate, 
and  that  does  not  agree  with  the  rest.  Or  rather,  I  incline 
to  the  belief  that  she  did  leave  by  the  Vesle  gate,  but  to  go 
out  of  the  world." 

"  I  do  not  understand,"  said  Gervaise. 

"  The  Vesle,"  replied  Mahiette  with  a  mournful  sigh,  "  is 
the  river." 

"  Alas,  poor  Chantefleurie !  "  said  Oudarde  with  a  shudder, 
"drowned?" 

"  Drowned !  "  said  Mahiette.  "  And  who  could  have  fore- 
told to  the  good  father  Guybertaut,  when  he  was  passing 
down  the  stream  under  the  Tinqueux  bridge,  singing  in  his 
boat,  that  one  day  his  dear  little  Paquette  should  pass  under 
that  same  bridge,  but  without  either  boat  or  song ! " 

**  And  the  little  shoe  ?  "  asked  Gervaise. 

"  Vanished  with  the  mother." 

"  Poor  little  shoe !  "  sighed  Oudarde ;  fat,  tender-hearted 
creature,  she  would  have  been  very  well  pleased  to  go  on 
sighing  in  company  with  Mahiette ;  but  Gervaise,  of  a  more 
inquiring  disposition,  was  not  at  an  end  of  her  questions. 

"And  the  little  monster?"  she  suddenly  said  to  Mahiette. 

"What  monster?" 

"  The  little  gipsy  monster  left  by  the  black  witches  in  the 
place  of  Chantefleurie's  little  girl.  What  was  done  with  it? 
I  trust  you  had  it  drowned?  " 

"  No,"  answered  Mahiette,  "  we  did  not." 

"  What  ?  burned,  then  ?  F  faith,  a  better  way  for  a  witch's 
spav/n !  " 

"  Neither  drowned  nor  burned,  Gervaise.  His  Lordship 
the  archbishop  took  pity  on  the  child  of  Egypt,  exorcised 
it,  blessed  it,  carefully   cast  the  devil  out  of  its  body,  and 

217 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

then  sent  it  to  Paris  to  be  exposed  as  a  foundling  on  the 
wooden  bed  in  front  of  Notre-Dame." 

"  Ah,  these  bishops,"  grumbled  Gervaise ;  "  because  they 
are  learned,  forsooth,  they  can  never  do  anything  like  other 
folks !  Think  of  it,  Oudarde — to  put  the  devil  among  the 
foundlings !  for  of  course  the  little  monster  was  the  devil. 
Well,  Mahiette,  and  what  did  they  do  with  him  in  Paris? 
I'll  answer  for  it  that  no  charitable  person  would  have  it." 

"  I  know  not,"  answered  the  lady  of  Reims.  "  It  was 
just  at  the  time  when  my  husband  purchased  the  office  of 
clerk  to  the  Court  of  Justice  at  Beru,  two  leagues  distant 
from  the  city,  and  we  thought  no  further  of  the  story,  par- 
ticularly that  just  in  front  of  Beru  are  the  two  little  hills 
of  Cernay,  which  hide  the  towers  of  the  Cathedral  from  view." 

Meanwhile,  the  three  worthy  burgher  wives  had  reached 
the  Place  de  Greve.  Absorbed  in  conversation,  however, 
they  had  passed  the  public  breviary  of  the  Tour-Roland 
without  noticing  it,  and  were  directing  their  steps  mechanic- 
ally towards  the  pillory  round  which  the  crowd  increased 
from  moment  to  moment.  It  is  possible  that  the  sight  which 
at  that  instant  drew  all  eyes  towards  it  would  have  com- 
pletely driven  the  Rat-Hole  and  the  pious  halt  they  intended 
making  there  from  their  minds,  had  not  fat,  six-year-old 
Eustache,  dragging  at  Mahiette's  side,  recalled  it  to  them 
suddenly. 

"  Mother,"  said  he,  as  if  some  instinct  apprised  him  that 
they  had  left  the  Rat-Hole  behind,  "now  may  I  eat  the  cake?  " 

Had  Eustache  been  more  astute,  that  is  to  say,  less  greedy, 
he  would  have  waited,  and  not  till  they  had  returned  to  the 
University,  to  Maitre  Andry  Musnier's  house  in  the  Rue 
Madame-la-\'alence,  and  he  had  put  the  two  arms  of  the 
Seine  and  the  five  bridges  of  the  city  between  the  Rat-Hole 
and  the  cake,  would  he  have  hazarded  this  question. 

Imprudent  though  the  question  was  on  Eustache's  part, 
it  recalled  his  mother  to  her  charitable  purpose. 

"  That  reminds  me,"  exclaimed  she,  "  we  were  forgetting 
the  nun!  Show  me  this  Rat-Hole  of  yours,  that  I  may  give 
her  the  cake." 

"  Right  gladly,"  said  Oudarde ;  "  it  will  be  a  charity." 

This  w'as  quite  out  of  Eustache's  reckoning. 

218 


The  Story  of  a  Wheaten   Cake 

"  It's  my  cake !  "  said  he,  drawing  up  first  one  shoulder 
and  then  the  other  till  they  touched  his  ears — a  sign,  in  such 
cases,  of  supreme  dissatisfaction. 

The  three  women  retraced  their  steps  and  presently 
reached  the  Tour-Roland. 

Said  Oudarde  to  the  other  two :  "  We  must  not  all  look 
into  the  cell  at  once,  lest  we  frighten  the  recluse.  Do  you 
two  make  as  if  yovi  were  reading  Dominus  in  the  breviary, 
while  I  peep  in  at  the  window.  The  sachette  knows  me 
somewhat.     I  will  give  you  a  sign  when  you  may  come." 

Accordingly,  she  went  alone  to  the  window.  As  her  gaze 
penetrated  the  dim  interior,  profound  pity  overspread  her 
countenance,  and  her  frank  and  wholesome  face  changed  as 
suddenly  in  expression  and  hue  as  if  it  had  passed  out  of 
the  sunshine  into  moonlight.  Her  eyes  moistened  and  her 
lips  contracted  as  before  an  outbreak  of  tears.  The  next 
moment  she  laid  her  finger  on  her  lips  and  signed  to  Mahiette 
to  come  and  look. 

Mahiette  advanced,  tremulous,  silent,  on  tip-toe,  as  one 
approaching  a  death-bed. 

It  was,  in  truth,  a  sorrowful  spectacle  which  presented 
itself  to  the  eyes  of  the  two  women,  as  they  gazed,  motionless 
and  breathless,  through  the  barred  aperture  of  the  Rat-Hole. 

The  cell  was  small,  wider  than  it  was  deep,  with  a  vaulted, 
Gothic  ceiling,  giving  it  much  the  aspect  of  the  inside  of  a 
bishop's  mitre.  Upon  the  bare  flag-stones  which  formed  its 
floor,  in  a  corner  a  woman  was  seated,  or  rather  crouching, 
her  chin  resting  on  her  knees,  which  her  tightly  clasped  arms 
pressed  close  against  her  breast.  Cowering  together  thus, 
clothed  in  a  brown  sack  which  enveloped  her  entirely  in  its 
large  folds,  her  long,  gray  hair  thrown  forward  and  falling 
over  her  face  along  her  sides  and  down  to  her  feet,  she 
seemed,  at  the  first  glance,  but  a  shapeless  heap  against  the 
gloomy  background  of  the  cell,  a  dark  triangle  which  the 
daylight  struggling  through  the  window  divided  sharply  into 
two  halves,  one  light,  the  other  dark — one  of  those  spectres, 
half  light,  half  shade,  such  as  one  sees  in  dreams,  or  in  one 
of  Goya's  extraordinary  works — pale,  motionless,  sinister, 
crouching  on  a  tomb  or  leaning  against  the  bars  of  a  prison. 
You  could  not  say  definitely  that  it  was  a  woman,  a  man,  a 

219 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

living  being  of  any  sort ;  it  was  a  figure,  a  vision  in  which 
the  real  and  the  imaginary  were  interwoven  Hke  light  and 
shadow.  Beneath  the  hair  that  fell  all  about  it  to  the  ground, 
you  could  just  distinguish  the  severe  outline  of  an  emaciated 
face,  just  catch  a  glimpse  under  the  edge  of  the  garment  of 
the  extremity  of  a.  bare  foot,  clinging  cramped  and  rigid  to 
the  frozen  stones.  The  little  of  human  form  discernible  under 
that  penitential  covering  sent  a  shudder  through  the  beholder. 

This  figure,  which  might  have  been  permanently  fixed 
to  the  stone  floor,  seemed  wholly  without  motion,  thought, 
or  breath.  In  that  thin  covering  of  sackcloth,  in  January, 
lying  on  the  bare  stones,  without  a  fire,  in  the  shadow  of  a 
cell  whose  oblique  loophole  admitted  only  the  northeast 
wind,  but  never  the  sunshine,  she  seemed  not  to  suffer,  not 
even  to  feel.  You  would  have  thought  she  had  turned  to 
stone  with  the  dungeon,  to  ice  with  the  season.  Her  hands 
were  clasped,  her  eyes  fixed ;  at  the  first  glance  you  took  her 
for  a  spectre  ;  at  the  second,  for  a  statue. 

However,  at  intervals,  her  livid  lips  parted  with  a  breath 
and  quivered,  but  the  movement  was  as  dead  and  mechanical 
as  leaves  separated  by  the  breeze ;  while  from  those  dull  eyes 
came  a  look,  ineffable,  deep,  grief-stricken,  unwavering, 
immutably  fixed  on  a  corner  of  the  cell  which  was  not  visible 
from  without ;  a  gaze  which  seemed  to  concentrate  all  the 
gloomy  thoughts  of  that  agonized  soul  upon  some  mys- 
terious object. 

Such  was  the  being  who,  from  her  habitation,  was  called 
the  rechise,  and  from  her  sackcloth  garment,  the  sachette. 

The  three  women — for  Gervaise  had  joined  Mahiette  and 
Oudarde — looked  through  the  window,  and  though  their  heads 
intercepted  the  feeble  light  of  the  cell,  its  miserable  tenant 
seemed  unaware  of  their  scrutiny. 

"  Let  us  not  disturb  her,"  whispered  Oudarde ;  "  she  is  in 
one  of  her  ecstasies,  she  is  praying." 

Meanwhile  Mahiette  gazed  in  ever-increasing  earnestness 
upon  that  wan  and  withered  face  and  that  dishevelled  head, 
and  her  eyes  filled  with  tears.  "  That  w^ould  indeed  be 
strange  !  "  she  murmured. 

She  pushed  her  head  through  the  cross-bars  of  the  window, 
and  succeeded  in  obtaining  a  glimpse  into  that  corner  of  the 

220 


The  Story  of  a  Wheaten   Cake 

cell  upon  which  the  unfortunate  woman's  eyes  were  immova- 
bly fixed.  When  she  withdrew  her  head,  her  face  was  bathed 
in  tears. 

"  What  do  you  call  that  woman  ?  "  she  asked  of  Oudarde. 

"  We  call  her  Sister  Gudule,"  was  the  reply. 

"  And  I,"  said  Mahiette,  "  I  call  her  Paquette  la  Chante- 
fleurie !  " 

Then,  with  her  finger  on  her  lips,  she  signed  to  the  amazed 
Oudarde  to  look  through  the  bars  of  the  window  in  her  turn. 
Oudarde  did  so,  and  saw  in  that  corner,  upon  which  the  eye 
of  the  recluse  was  fixed  in  gloomy  trance,  a  little  shoe  of 
rose-coloured  satin  covered  with  gold  and  silver  spangles. 
Gervaise  took  her  turn  after  Oudarde,  after  which  the  three 
women  gazing  upon  the  unhappy  mother  mingled  their  tears 
of  distress  and  compassion. 

But  neither  their  scrutiny  nor  their  weeping  had  stirred 
the  recluse.  Her  hands  remained  tightly  locked,  her  lips 
silent,  her  eyes  fixed,  and  to  any  one  who  knew  her  story 
that  little  shoe  thus  gazed  at  was  a  heart-breaking  sight. 

None  of  the  three  women  had  uttered  a  word ;  they  dared 
not  speak,  not  even  in  a  whisper.  This  deep  silence,  this 
profound  grief,  this  abstraction,  in  which  all  things  were  for- 
gotten save  that  one,  affected  them  Hke  the  sight  of  the  High 
Altar  at  Easter  or  at  Christmastide.  A  sense  of  being  in  some 
holy  place  came  upon  them ;  they  were  ready  to  fall  on  their 
knees. 

At  length  Gervaise,  the  most  inquiring  of  the  three,  and 
therefore  the  least  sensitive,  endeavoured  to  get  speech  of 
the  recluse,  "  Sister  Gudule !  Sister!  "  she  called  repeatedly, 
raising  her  voice  louder  each  time.    . 

The  recluse  never  stirred.  Not  a  word,  not  a  glance,  not 
a  breath,  not  a  sign  of  life. 

Oudarde,  in  a  softer  and  more  caressing  tone,  tried  in  her 
turn.     "  Sister !  "  she  called  ;  "  Sister  Gudule  !  " 

The  same  silence,  the  same  immobility. 

"  A  strange  woman  indeed !  "  cried  Gervaise ;  "  no  bom- 
bard would  make  her  move." 

"  Perhaps  she  is  deaf,"  suggested  Oudarde. 

"  Or  blind,"  added  Gervaise. 

"  Perhaps  she  is  dead,"  said  Mahiette.     In  truth,  if  the 

221 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

soul  had  not  actually  quitted  that  inert,  motionless,  lethargic 
body,  at  least  it  had  withdrawn  itself  to  such  inaccessible 
depths  that  the  perceptions  of  the  external  organs  were  power- 
less to  reach  it. 

"  There  remains  nothing  for  us  to  do,  then,"  said  Oudarde, 
"  but  to  leave  the  cake  on  the  ledge  of  the  window.  But 
then,  some  boy  will  be  sure  to  take  it  away.  What  can  we 
do  to  arouse  her?  " 

Eustache,  whose  attention  up  till  now  had  been  distracted 
by  the  passing  of  a  little  cart  drawn  by  a  great  dog,  now 
noticed  that  his  three  companions  were  looking  at  something 
through  the  window  above  him,  and,  seized  in  his  turn  with 
curiosity,  he  mounted  upon  a  stone,  stood  on  tip-toe,  and 
stretched  up  his  round,  rosy  face  to  the  hole,  crying,  "  Mother, 
let  me  see  too !  " 

At  the  sound  of  the  child's  clear,  fresh,  ringing  voice  the 
recluse  started  violently.  She  turned  her  head  with  the  sharp 
and  sudden  motion  of  a  steel  spring,  the  two  long,  fleshless 
hands  drew  aside  the  veil  of  hair  from  her  brow,  and  she 
fixed  upon  the  child  a  pair  of  bewildered  and  despairing  eyes. 

It  was  but  a  glance.  "  Oh,  my  God !  "  she  cried,  sud- 
denly burying  her  face  in  her  knees,  and  it  seemed  as  if 
her  hoarse  voice  tore  her  breast  in  passing,  "  in  pity  do  not 
show  me  those  of  others !  " 

"  Good-morrow,  dame,"  said  the  child  soberly. 

The  shock  had  awakened  the  recluse  from  her  trance.  A 
long  shiver  ran  through  her  from  head  to  foot,  her  teeth 
chattered,  she  half  raised  her  head,  and  pressing  her  arms 
to  her  sides,  she  took  her  feet  in  her  hands  as  if  to  warm  them. 

"  Oh,  the  bitter  cold !  "  she  murmured. 

"  Poor  soul !  "  said  Oudarde  in  deepest  pity,  "  will  you 
have  a  little  fire?  " 

She  shook  her  head  in  token  of  refusal. 

"  Then,"  Oudarde  went  on,  holding  out  a  flask  to  her, 
"  here  is  hippocras ;  that  will  warm  you — drink." 

She  shook  her  head  again  and  looked  fixedly  at  Oudarde. 
"  Water,"  she  said. 

"  Xo,  sister,"  Oudarde  insisted,  "  that  is  no  drink  for  a 
January  day.  You  must  have  a  little  hippocras,  and  eat 
this  wheaten  cake  we  have  baked  for  you." 

222 


The  Story  of  a  Wheaten  Cake 

She  pushed  away  the  cake  Mahiette  held  out  to  her,  and 
said,  "  Some  black  bread." 

"  Come,"  said  Gervaise,  seized  with  charity  in  her  turn, 
and  taking  off  her  woollen  cloak,  "  here  is  a  cloak  something 
warmer  than  yours.     Put  it  round  your  shoulders." 

But  she  refused  this  as  she  had  done  the  flask  and  the 
cake.     "  A  sack,"  she  answered. 

"  But  you  must  have  something  to  show  that  yesterday 
was  a  holiday !  "  urged  the  good  Oudarde. 

"  I  know  it  well,"  answered  the  recluse ;  "  these  two  days 
I  have  had  no  water  in  my  pitcher." 

After  a  moment's  silence  she  continued,  "  It  is  a  holiday, 
so  they  forget  me.  They  do  well.  Why  should  the  world  think 
of  me,  who  think  not  of  it  ?    Cold  ashes  to  a  dead  brand !  " 

And  as  if  exhausted  by  having  said  thus  much,  she  let 
her  head  fall  again  upon  her  knees.  The  simple-minded, 
compassionate  Oudarde  gathering  from  these  last  words  that 
the  poor  woman  was  still  lamenting  at  the  cold,  said  once 
more: 

"  Then  will  you  not  have  some  fire  ?  " 

"  Fire !  "  answered  the  woman  in  a  strange  tone,  "  and 
will  you  make  a  fire  for  the  poor  little  one  that  has  been 
under  the  ground  these  fifteen  years?" 

She  trembled  in  every  limb,  her  voice  shook,  her  eyes 
gleamed,  she  had  risen  to  her  knees.  Suddenly  she  stretched 
out  a  thin  and  bloodless  hand  and  pointed  to  the  child,  who 
gazed  at  her  round-eyed  and  wondering.  "  Take  away  that 
child,"  she  cried,  "  the  Egyptian  is  coming  by !  " 

Then  she  fell  on  her  face  on  the  ground,  her  forehead 
striking  the  floor  with  the  sound  of  stone  upon  stone.  The 
three  women  thought  her  dead ;  but  a  moment  afterward  she 
stirred,  and  they  saw  her  drag  herself  on  her  hands  and 
knees  to  the  corner  where  the  little  shoe  lay.  At  this  they 
dared  look  no  longer ;  they  sav/  her  not,  but  they  heard  the 
sound  of  a  tempest  of  sighs  and  kisses,  mingled  with  heart- 
rending cries  and  dull  blows  as  of  a  head  being  struck  against 
a  wall;  then,  after  one  of  these  blows,  so  violent  that  they  all 
three  recoiled  in  horror,  deep  silence. 

"  Can  she  have  killed  herself?"  asked  Gervaise,  venturing 
her  head  through  the  bars.     "  Sister  1     Sister  Gudule  !  " 

223 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  Sister  Gudule !"  echoed  Oudarde. 

"  Alas,  she  does  not  move !  "  cried  Gervaise ;  "  can  she  be 
dead  ?     Gudule !     Gudule !" 

Mahiette,  whom  deep  emotion  had  rendered  speechless, 
now  made  an  effort.  "Wait  a  moment,"  said  she;  then  go- 
ing close  to  the  window — "Paquette!"  she  cried — "Paquette 
la  Chantefleurie !  " 

A  child  blowing  unsuspiciously  on  the  half-lighted  match 
of  a  petard,  causing  it  suddenly  to  explode  in  his  face,  would 
not  be  more  appalled  than  IMahiette  at  the  effect  of  this  name, 
thus  unexpectedly  launched  into  Sister  Gudule's  cell. 

The  recluse  shook  in  every  limb,  then,  rising  to  her  feet, 
she  sprang  at  the  loophole  with  eyes  so  blazing  that  the  three 
women  and  the  child  all  fell  back  to  the  very  edge  of  the  quay. 

Meanwhile  the  terrible  face  of  the  recluse  remained  close 
to  the  grating.  "  Oh !  oh !  "  she  cried,  with  a  horrible  laugh. 
"  it  is  the  Egyptian  woman  calling  me !  " 

At  that  moment  a  scene  which  was  taking  place  on  the 
pillory  caught  her  haggard  eye.  Her  brow  contracted  with 
horror,  she  stretched  her  two  skeleton  arms  through  the  cross- 
bars, and  cried  in  a  voice  like  the  rattle  in  a  dying  throat. 
"  'Tis  thou  again,  daughter  of  Egypt !  'Tis  thou  calling  me, 
stealer  of  children !  Accursed  be  thou  forever — accursed ! 
accursed !  accursed !" 


IV 

A    TEAR    FOR    A    DROP    OF    WATER 

The  concluding  words  of  the  foregoing  chapter  may  be 
described  as  the  point  of  junction  of  two  scenes  which,  till  that 
moment,  had  been  running  parallel,  each  on  its  own  particular 
stage;  the  one — which  we  have  just  been  following — at  the 
Rat-Hole;  the  other — now  to  be  described — on  the  pillory. 
The  former  had  been  witnessed  only  by  the  three  women  with 
whom  the  reader  has  just  been  made  acquainted;  the  latter 
had  for  audience  the  whole  crowd  which  we  saw  gathering  in 
the  Place  de  Greve  round  the  pillory  and  the  gibbet. 

224. 


A  Tear  for  a  Drop  of  Water 

This  crowd,  in  whom  the  sight  of  the  four  sergeants 
stationed  since  nine  in  the  morning  at  the  four  corners  of 
the  pillory  had  roused  the  pleasing  expectation  of  a  penal 
exhibition  of  some  sort — not,  perhaps,  a  hanging,  but  a  flog- 
ging, a  cutting  oflf  of  ears  or  the  like — this  crowd  had 
increased  so  rapidly  that  the  four  mounted  men,  finding  them- 
selves too  closely  pressed,  had  more  than  once  been  under 
the  necessity  of  "  tightening  "  it,  as  they  called  it  then,  by 
great  lashes  of  their  whips  and  their  horses'  heels. 

The  populace,  well  accustomed  to  waiting  for  public  exe- 
cutions, manifested  but  little  impatience.  They  amused  them- 
selves by  looking  at  the  pillory,  a  very  simple  structure,  con- 
sisting of  a  hollow  cube  of  masonry  some  ten  feet  in  height. 
A  steep  flight  of  steps  of  unhewn  stone — called  par  excellence 
the  ladder — led  to  the  top  platform,  on  which  lay  horizontally 
a  wheel  of  stout  oak.  To  this  wheel  the  victim  was  bound 
kneeling  and  with  his  hands  pinioned  behind  him ;  a  shaft  of 
timber,  set  in  motion  by  a  windlass  concealed  in  the  interior 
of  the  structure,  caused  the  wheel  to  rotate  horizontally,  thus 
presenting  the  face  of  the  culprit  to  every  point  of  the  Place 
in  succession.     This  was  called  "  turning  "  the  criminal. 

It  will  be  seen  from  the  description  that  the  pillory  of 
the  Greve  was  far  from  possessing  the  many  attractions  of 
that  at  the  Halles.  Here  was  nothing  architectural,  nothing 
monumental — no  roof  embellished  with  an  iron  cross,  no 
octagon  lantern  tower,  no  slender  pilasters  blossoming  out 
against  the  edge  of  the  roof  into  acanthus-leafed  and  flowery 
capitals,  no  fantastic,  dragon-headed  gargoyles,  no  carved 
wood-work,  no  delicate  sculpture  cut  deeply  into  the  stone. 

One  had  to  be  content  with  the  four  rough-hewn  sides 
of  stone  and  an  ugly  stone  gibbet,  mean  and  bare,  at  the  side 
of  it.  The  show  would  have  been  a  poor  one  to  the  amateur 
of  Gothic  architecture,  but  truly  nobody  could  be  more  indif- 
ferent in  the  matter  of  architecture  than  the  good  burghers 
of  the  Middle  Ages ;  they  cared  not  a  jot  for  the  beauty 
of  a  pillory. 

At  last  the  culprit  arrived,  tied  to  a  cart's  tail,  and  as  soon 
as  he  was  hoisted  on  to  the  platform  and,  bound  with  cords 
and  straps  to  the  wheel,  was  plainly  visible  from  every  point 
of  the  Place,  a  prodigious  hooting  mingled  with  laughter  and 

225 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

acclamations  burst   from   the   assembled   crowd.      They   had 
recognised  Quasimodo. 

It  was  indeed  he.  Strange  turn  of  fortune's  wheel ! — ^to 
be  pilloried  on  the  same  spot  on  which,  but  the  day  before, 
he  had  been  saluted,  acclaimed  Pope  and  Prince  of  Fools, 
and  counted  in  his  train  the  Duke  of  Egypt,  the  King  of 
Tunis,  and  the  Emperor  of  Galilee.  One  thing,  however, 
is  certain,  there  was  no  mind  in  that  crowd,  not  even  his 
own,  though  in  turn  the  victor  and  the  vanquished,  that 
thought  of  drawing  this  parallel.  Gringoire  and  his  phi- 
losophy were  lacking  at  this  spectacle. 

Presently  Michel  Noiret,  appointed  trumpeter  to  our  lord 
the  King,  after  imposing  silence  on  the  people,  made  proc- 
lamation of  the  sentence,  pursuant  to  the  ordinance  and  com- 
mand of  the  Lord  Provost.  He  then  fell  back  behind  the 
cart  with  his  men. 

Quasimodo,  quite  impassive,  never  stirred  a  muscle.  All 
resistance  was  impossible  to  him  by  reason  of  what,  in  the 
parlance  of  the  old  criminal  law,  was  described  as  '*  the 
strength  and  firmness  of  the  bonds  " — in  other  words,  the 
cords  and  chains  probably  cut  into  his  flesh.  This  tradition 
of  the  dungeon  and  the  galleys  has  been  handed  down  to  us 
and  carefully  preserved  among  us  civilized,  tender-hearted, 
humane  people  in  the  shape  of  the  manacles — not  forgetting 
the  bagnio  and  the  guillotine,  of  course. 

Quasimodo  had  passively  let  himself  be  led,  thrust,  car- 
ried, hoisted  up,  bound  and  rebound.  Nothing  was  to  be 
discovered  in  his  face  but  the  bewilderment  of  the  savage  or 
the  idiot.  He  was  known  to  be  deaf;  he  might  also  have 
been  blind. 

They  thrust  him  on  to  his  knees  on  the  wheel,  they 
stripped  him  to  the  waist :  he  made  no  resistance.  They 
bound  him  down  with  a  fresh  arrangement  of  cords  and 
leathern  thongs ;  he  let  them  bind  and  strap  him.  Only 
from  time  to  time  he  breathed  heavily,  like  a  calf  whose  head 
swings  and  bumps  over  the  edge  of  a  butcher's  cart. 

"  The  blockhead,"  said  Jehan  Frollo  of  the  Mill  to  his 
friend  Robin  Poussepain  (for  the  two  scholars  had  followed 
the  culprit,  as  in  duty  bound),  "  he  knows  no  more  what  it's 
all  about  than  a  bumble-bee  shut  in  a  box ! " 

226 


A   Tear  for  a  Drop  of  Water 

There  was  a  great  burst  of  laughter  from  the  crowd  when, 
stripped  naked  to  their  view,  they  caught  sight  of  Quasimodo's 
hump,  his  camel's  breast,  his  brawny,  hairy  shoulders.  Dur- 
ing the  merriment  a  man  in  the  livery  of  the  Town,  short 
of  stature  and  of  burly  make,  ascended  to  the  platform  and 
stationed  himself  beside  the  culprit.  His  name  was  quickly 
circulated  among  the  spectators.  It  was  Master  Pierrat 
Torterue,  official  torturer  to  the  Chatelet. 

He  first  proceeded  to  deposit  on  a  corner  of  the  pillory 
a  black  hour-glass,  the  upper  cup  of  which  was  filled  with 
red  sand,  which  ran  into  the  lower  receptacle ;  he  then  divested 
himself  of  his  party-coloured  doublet,  and  dangling  from  his 
right  hand  there  appeared  a  scourge  with  long,  slender,  white 
thongs — shining,  knotted,  interlaced — and  armed  with  metal 
claws.  With  his  left  hand  he  carelessly  drew  the  shirt-sleeve 
up  his  right  arm  as  high  as  the  shoulder. 

At  this  Jehan  Frollo,  lifting  his  curly,  fair  head  above  the 
crowd  (for  which  purpose  he  had  mounted  on  the  shoulders 
of  Robin  Poussepain),  shouted :  "  Walk  up,  walk  up,  ladies 
and  gentlemen,  and  see  them  scourge  Maitre  Quasimodo, 
bell-ringer  to  my  brother  the  reverend  archdeacon  of  Josas, 
a  rare  specimen  of  Oriental  architecture,  with  a  domed  back, 
and  twisted  columns  for  legs !  " 

And  the  crowd  roared  again,  especially  the  young  people. 

The  torturer  now  stamped  his  foot ;  the  wheel  began  to 
move.  Quasimodo  swayed  under  his  bonds,  and  the  amaze- 
ment suddenly  depicted  on  that  misshapen  countenance  gave 
a  fresh  impulse  to  the  peals  of  laughter  round  about. 

Suddenly,  at  the  moment  when  the  wheel  in  its  rotation 
presented  to  Master  Pierrat  Quasimodo's  enormous  back,  the 
torturer  raised  his  arm,  the  thongs  hissed  shrilly  through 
the  air,  like  a  handful  of  vipers,  and  fell  with  fury  on  the 
shoulders  of  the  hapless  wretch. 

Quasimodo  recoiled  as  if  suddenly  startled  out  of  sleep. 
Now  he  began  to  understand.  He  writhed  in  his  bonds,  the 
muscles  of  his  face  contracted  violently  in  surprise  and  pain, 
but  not  a  sound  escaped  him.  He  only  rolled  his  head  from 
side  to  side,  like  a  bull  stung  in  the  flank  by  a  gadfl}-. 

A  second  stroke  followed  the  first,  then  a  -third,  and 
another,  and  another.    The  wheel  ceased  not  to  turn,  nor  the 

227 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

lashes  to  rain  down.  Soon  the  blood  began  to  flow;  it 
trickled  in  a  thousand  streams  over  the  dark  shoulders  of 
the  hunchback,  and  the  keen  thongs,  as  they  swung  round 
in  the  air,  scattered  it  in  showers  over  the  multitude. 

Quasimodo  had  resumed,  in  appearance  at  least,  his  former 
impassibility.  At  first  he  had  striven,  silently  and  without 
any  great  external  movement,  to  burst  his  bonds.  His  eye 
kindled,  his  muscles  contracted,  his  limbs  gathered  themselves 
up.  The  effort  was  powerful,  strenuous,  desperate,  and  the 
cords  and  straps  were  strained  to  their  utmost  tension;  but 
the  seasoned  bonds  of  the  provostry  held.  They  cracked, 
but  that  was  all.  Quasimodo  desisted,  exhausted  by  the  effort, 
and  the  stupefaction  on  his  face  was  succeeded  by  an  expres- 
sion of  bitter  and  hopeless  discouragement.  He  closed  his 
single  eye,  dropped  his  head  upon  his  breast,  and  gave  no 
further  sign  of  life. 

Thenceforward  he  did  not  stir ;  nothing  could  wring  a 
movement  from  him — neither  the  blood,  that  did  not  cease 
to  flow,  nor  the  strokes  which  fell  with  redoubled  fury,  nor 
the  violence  of  the  torturer,  who  had  worked  himself  into  a 
state  of  frenzy,  nor  the  shrill  and  strident  whistle  of  the 
scourge. 

At  length  an  usher  of  the  Chatelet,  clad  in  black,  mounted 
on  a  black  horse,  and  stationed  at  the  foot  of  the  ladder  since   j 
the  beginning  of  the  chastisement,  pointed  with  his  ebony 
staff  to  the  hour-glass.     The  torturer  held  his  hand,  the  wheel 
stopped.     Quasimodo  slowly  reopened  his  eye. 

The  scourging  was  over.  Two  assistants  of  the  torturer 
bathed  the  lacerated  shoulders  of  the  culprit,  applied  to  them 
some  kind  of  unguent  which  immediately  closed  the  wounds, 
and  threw  over  his  back  a  yellow  cloth  shaped  like  a  chasuble ; 
Pierrat  Torterue  meanwhile  letting  the  blood  drain  from  the 
lashes  of  his  scourge  in  great  drops  on  to  the  ground. 

Biit  all  was  not  yet  over  for  poor  Quasimodo.  He  had 
still  to  undergo  that  hour  on  the  pillory  which  Maitre  Florian 
Barbedienne  had  so  judiciously  added  to  the  sentence  of 
Messire  Robert  d'Estouteville ;  and  all  merely  to  prove  the 
truth  of  John  of  Cumenes's  ancient  physiological  and  psycho- 
logical jell  dc  mots :  Snrdus  absurdiis. 

They  accordingly  turned  the  hour-glass,  and  left  the  hunch- 

228 


A  Tear  for  a  Drop  of  Water 

back  bound  to  the  wheel,  that  justice  might  run  its  course 
to  the  end. 

The  people — particularly  in  the  Middle  Ages — are  to  so- 
ciety what  the  child  is  in  the  family ;  and  as  long  as  they  are 
allowed  to  remain  at  that  primitive  stage  of  ignorance,  of 
moral  and  intellectual  nonage,  it  may  be  said  of  them  as  of 
childhood — "  It  is  an  age  that  knows  not  pity." 

We  have  already  shown  that  Quasimodo  w^as  universally 
hated — for  more  than  one  good  reason,  it  must  be  admitted — 
for  there  was  hardly  an  individual  among  the  crowd  of  spec- 
tators but  had  or  thought  he  had  some  cause  of  complaint 
against  the  malevolent  hunchback  of  Notre-Dame.  All  had 
rejoiced  to  see  him  make  his  appearance  on  the  pillory ;  and 
the  severe  punishment  he  had  just  undergone,  and  the  pitiable 
plight  in  which  it  had  left  him,  so  far  from  softening  the 
hearts  of  the  populace,  had  rendered  their  hatred  more  mali- 
cious by  pointing  it  with  the  sting  of  merriment. 

Accordingly,  "  public  vengeance  " — vindicte*piihUque,  as  the 
jargon  of  the  law  courts  still  has  it — being  satisfied,  a  thou- 
sand private  revenges  now  had  their  turn.  Here,  as  in  the 
great  Hall,  the  women  were  most  in  evidence.  Every  one 
of  them  had  some  grudge  against  him — some  for  his  wicked 
deeds,  others  for  his  ugly  face — and  the  latter  were  the  most 
incensed  of  the  two. 

"  Oh,  image  of  the  Antichrist !  "  cried  one. 

"  Thou  rider  on  the  broomstick !  "  screamed  another. 

"  Oh,  the  line  tragical  grimace !  "  yelled  a  third,  "  and 
that  would  have  made  him  Pope  of  Fools  if  to-day  had  been 
yesterday." 

"  Good !  "  chimed  in  an  old  woman,  "  this  is  the  pillory 
grin.     When  are  we  going  to  see  him  grin  through  a  noose?  " 

"  When  shall  we  see  thee  bonneted  by  thy  great  bell 
and  driven  a  hundred  feet  underground,  thrice-cursed  bell- 
rmger  ? 

"  And  to  think  that  this  foul  fiend  should  ring  the 
Angelus !  " 

"  Oh,  the  misbegotten  hunchback !  the  monster !  " 

"  To  look  at  him  is  enough  to  make  a  woman  miscarry 
better  than  any  medicines  or  pharmacy." 

And  the  two  scholars,  Jehan  of  the  Mill  and  Robin  Pousse- 

229 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

pain,  struck  in  at  the  pitch  of  their  voices  with  the  refrain  of 
an  old  popular  song : 

"  A  halter 
For  the  gallows  rogue, 

A  fagot 
For  the  witch's  brat." 

A  thousand  abusive  epithets  were  hurled  at  him,  with 
hoots  and  imprecations  and  bursts  of  laughter,  and  now  and 
then  a  stone  or  two. 

Quasimodo  was  deaf,  but  he  saw  very  clearly,  and  the 
fury  of  the  populace  was  not  less  forcibly  expressed  in  their 
faces  than  in  their  words.  Besides,  the  stones  that  struck 
him  explained  the  bursts  of  laughter. 

At  first  he  bore  it  well  enough.  But,  by  degrees,  the 
patience  that  had  remained  inflexible  under  the  scourge  of 
the  torturer  relaxed  and  broke  down  under  the  insect  stings. 
The  Asturian  bull  that  bears  unmoved  the  attack  of  the  pica- 
dors is  exasperated  by  the  dogs  and  banderillas. 

Slowly  he  cast  a  look  of  menace  over  the  crowd ;  but, 
bound  hand  and  foot  as  he  was,  his  glance  was  impotent  to 
drive  away  these  flies  that  stung  his  wounds.  He  shook  him- 
self in  his  toils,  and  his  furious  struggles  made  the  old  wheel 
of  the  pillory  creak  upon  its  timbers ;  all  of  which  merely 
served  to  increase  the  hooting  and  derision. 

Then  the  poor  wretch,  finding  himself  unable  to  burst 
his  fetters,  became  quiet  again ;  only  at  intervals  a  sigh  of 
rage  burst  from  his  tortured  breast.  No  flush  of  shame  dyed 
that  face.  He  was  too  far  removed  from  social  convention, 
too  near  a  state  of  nature,  to  know  what  shame  was.  In  any 
case,  at  that  degree  of  deformity,  is  a  sense  of  infamy  possible? 
But  resentment,  hatred,  and  despair  slowly  spread  a  cloud 
over 'that  hideous  countenance,  growing  ever  more  gloomy, 
ever  more  charged  with  electricity,  which  flashed  in  a  thousand 
lightnings  from  the  eye  of  the  Cyclops. 

Nevertheless,  the  cloud  lifted  a  moment,  at  the  appearance 
of  a  mule  which  passed  through  the  crowd,  ridden  by  a  priest. 
From  the  moment  that  he  caught  sight  of  the  priest,  the  poor 
victim's  countenance  softened,  and  the  rage  that  distorted  it 
gave  place  to  a  strange  soft  smile  full  of  ineffable  tenderness. 

230 


I 


i 


A  Tear  for  a  Drop  of  Water 

As  the  priest  approached  nearer,  this  smile  deepened,  became 
more  distinct,  more  radiant,  as  though  the  poor  creature 
hailed  the  advent  of  a  saviour.  Ajas !  no  sooner  was  the  mule 
come  near^  enoju^i  to  the  pillory  for~its  rider  to  recognise 
tlie  person  of  the  culprit,  than  the  priest  cast  down  his  eyes, 
turned  his  steed  abruptly,  and  .hastened  away,  as  if  anxious 
to  escape  any  humiliating  appeal,  and  not  desirous  of  being 
recognised  and  greeted  by  a  poor  devil  in  such  a  position. 

This  priest  was  the  Archdeacon  Dom  Claude  Frollo. 

And  now  the  cloud  fell  thicker  and  darker  than  before 
over  the  face  of  Quasimodo.  The  smile  still  lingered  for  a 
while,  but  it  was  bitter,  disheartened,  unutterably  sad. 

Time  was  passing :  he  had  been  there  for  at  least  an  hour 
and  a  half,  lacerated,  abused,  mocked,  and  well-nigh  stoned 
to  death. 

Suddenly  he  renewed  his  struggles  against  his  bonds  with 
such  desperation  that  the  old  structure  on  which  he  was  fixed 
rocked  beneath  him.  Then,  breaking  the  silence  he  had 
obstinately  preserved,  he  cried  aloud  in  a  hoarse  and  furious 
voice,  more  like  the  cry  of  a  dog  than  a  human  being,  and 
that  rang  above  the  hooting  and  the  shouts,  "  Water !  " 

This  cry  of  distress,  far  from  moving  them  to  compassion, 
only  added  to  the  amusement  of  the  populace  gathered  round 
the  pillory,  who,  it  must  be  admitted,  taking  them  in  a  mass, 
were  scarcely  less  cruel  and  brutal  than  that  debased  tribe 
of  vagabonds  whom  we  have  already  introduced  to  the  reader. 
Not  a  voice  was  raised  around  the  unhappy  victim  save  in 
mockery  of  his  thirst.  Undoubtedly  his  appearance  at  that 
moment — with  his  purple,  streaming  face,  his  eye  bloodshot 
and  distraught,  the  foam  of  rage  and  pain  upon  his  lips,  his 
lolling  tongue — made  him  an  object  rather  of  repulsion  than  of 
pity ;  bvit  we  are  bound  to  say  that  had  there  even  been  among 
the  crowd  some  kind,  charitable  soul  tempted  to  carry  a  cup 
of  water  to  that  poor  wretch  in  agony,  there  hung  round  the 
steps  of  the  pillory,  in  the  prejudice  of  the  times,  an  atmos- 
phere of  infamy  and  shame  dire  enough  to  have  repelled  the 
Good  Samaritan  himself. 

At  the  end  of  a  minute  or  two  Quasimodo  cast  his  de- 
spairing glance  over  the  cro;v\ui  onee^  more,  and  cried  in  yet 
more  heart-rending  tones,  /^Water!^ 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Renewed  laughter  on  all  sides. 

"  Drink  that !  "  cried  Robin  Poussepain,  throwing  in  his 
face  a  sponge  soaked  in  the  kennel.  "  Deaf  rogue,  I  am 
thy  debtor." 

A  woman  launched  a  stone  at  his  head — "  That  shall  teach 
thee  to  wake  us  at  night  with  thy  accursed  ringing." 

"  Ah-ha,  my  lad,"  bawled  a  cripple,  trying  to  reach  him 
with  his  crutch,  "  wilt  thou  cast  spells  on  us  again  from  the 
towers  of  Notre-Dame,  I  wonder?  " 

"  Here's  a  porringer  to  drink  out  of,"  said  a  man,  hurling 
a  broken  pitcher  at  his  breast.  "  'Tis  thou,  that  only  by  pass- 
ing before  her,  caused  my  wife  to  be  brought  to  bed  of  a 
child  with  two  heads !  " 

"And  my  cat  of  a  kit  with  six  legs!"  screamed  an  old 
woman  as  she  flung  a  tile  at  him. 

"  Wateriy  gasped  Quasimodo  for  the  third  time. 

^f"t4«t-moment  he  saw  the  crowd  part  and  a  young  girl 
in  fantastic  dress  issue  from  it ;  she  was  accompanied  by  a 
little  white  goat  with  gilded  horns,  and  carried  a  tambourine 
in  her  hand. 

Quasimodo's  eye  flashed.  It  was  the  gipsy  girl  he  had 
attempted  to  carry  off  the  night  before,  for  which  piece  of 
daring  he  felt  in  some  confused  way  he  was  being  chastised 
at  that  very  moment ;  which  was  not  in  the  least  the  case, 
seeTng  that  he  was  punished  only  for  the  misfortune  of  being 
deaf  and  having  had  a  deaf  judge.  However,  he  doubted  not 
that  she,  too,  had  come  to  have  her  revenge  and  to  aim  a  blow 
at  him  like  the  rest. 

He  beheld  her  rapidly  ascend  the  steps.  Rage  and  vexa- 
tion choked  him ;  he  would  have  burst  the  pillory  in  frag- 
ments if  he  could,  and  if  the  flash  of  his  eye  had  possessed 
the  lightning's  power,  the  gipsy  would  have  been  reduced 
to  ashes  before  ever  she  reached  the  platform. 

Without  a  word  she  approached  the  culprit,  who  struggled 
vainly  to  escape  her,  and  detaching  a  gourd  bottle  from  her 
girdle,  she  raised  it  gently  to  those  poor  parched  lips. 

"*  Then  from  that  eye,  hitherto  so  dry  and  burning,  there 
rolled  a  great  tear  which  trickled  down  the  uncouth  face,  so 
long  distorted  by  despair  and  pain — the  first,  maybe,  the  hap- 
less creature  had  ever  shed. 

232 


A  Tear  for  a  Drop  of  Water 

But  he  had  forgotten  to  drink.  The  gipsy  impatiently 
madeJiex^  little  familiar  grimace ;  then,  smiling,  held  the.jieck 
of  the  gourd  to  Quasimodo's  tusked  mouth. 

He  drank  in  long  draughts;  he  was  consumed  with  thirst. 

When,  at  last,  he  had  finished,  the  poor  wretch  advanced 
his  black  lips — no  doubt  to  kiss  the  fair  hands  which  had  just 
brought  him  relief;  but  the  girl,  mistrusting  him  perhaps, 
and  remembering  the  violent  attempt  of  the  night  before, 
drew  back  her  hand  with  the  frightened  gesture  of  a  child 
expecting  to  be  bitten  by  some  animal.  Whereat  the  poor, 
deaf  creature  fixed  upon  her  a  look  full  of  reproach  and 
sadness. 

In  any  place  it  would  have  been  a  touching  spectacle  to 
see  a  beautiful  girl — so  fresh,  so  pure,  so  kind,  and  so  unpro- 
tected— hastening  thus  to  succour  so  much  of  misery,  of  de- 
formity and  wickedness.     On  a  pillory,  it  became  sublime. 

The  people  themselves  were  overcome  by  it,  and  clapped 
their  hands,  shouting,  "  Noel !  Noel !  " 

It  was  at  this  moment  that  the  recluse,  through  the  loop- 
hole of  her  cell,  caught  sight  of  the  gipsy  girl  on  the  steps 
of  the  pillory,  and  launched  her  sinister  imprecation :  "  Cursed 
be  thou,  daughter  of  Egypt !  cursed !  cursed  I  ** 


V 

THE   END    OF  THE   WHEATEN   CAKE 

Esmeralda  blanched  and  swayed  as  she  descended  the 
steps  of  the  pillory,  the  voice  of  the  recluse  pursuing  her 
as  she  went :  "  Come  down !  come  down !  Ah,  thou  Egyptian 
thief,  thou  shalt  yet  return  there  again !  " 

"  The  sachette  is  in  one  of  her  tantrums,"  murmured  the 
people;  but  they  went  no  further,  for  these  women  were 
feared,  which  made  them  sacred.  In  those  days  they  were 
shy  of  attacking  a  person  who  prayed  day  and  night. 

The  hour  had  now  arrived  for  releasing  Quasimodo.  They 
unfastened  him  from  the  pillory,  and  the  crowd  dispersed. 

Near  the  Grand-Pont,  Mahiette,  who  was  going  away  with 

233 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

her  companions,  suddenly  stopped.  "  Eustache,"  she  said, 
"  what  hast  thou  done  with  the  cake  ?  " 

"  Mother,"  answered  the  child,  "  while  you  were  talking 
to  the  dame  in  the  hole  a  great  dog  came  and  took  a  bite 
of  my  cake,  and  so  then  I  too  had  a  bite." 

"  What,  sir,"  she  cried,  **  you  have  eaten  it  all ! " 

"  Mother,  it  was  the  dog.  I  told  him,  but  he  would  not 
listen ;  then  I  bit  a  piece  too." 

"  'Tis  a  shocking  boy !  "  said  the  mother,  smiling  fondly 
while  she  scolded.  "  Look  you,  Oudarde,  already  he  eats 
by  himself  all  the  cherries  in  our  little  orchard  at  Charle- 
range.  So  his  grandfather  predicts  he  will  be  a  captain. — Let 
me  catch  you  at  it  again.  Monsieur  Eustache.  Go,  greedy 
lion!" 


234 


BOOK   VII 


SHOWING  THE  DANGER  OF  CONFIDING  ONE's  SECRET  TO  A  GOAT 

Several  weeks  had  elapsed. 

It  was  the  beginning  of  March,  and  though  Du  Bartas,*  that 
classic  ancestor  of  the  periphrase,  had  not  yet  styled  the  sun 
"  the  Grand  Duke  of  the  Candles,"  his  rays  were  none  the  less 
bright  and  cheerfux.  It  was  one  of  those  beautiful  mild  days 
of  early  spring  that  draw  all  Paris  out  into  the  squares  and 
promenades  rs  it  iu  were  a  Sunday.  On  these  days  of  clear 
air,  of  warmth,  and  of  serenity  there  is  one  hour  in  particular 
at  which  the  great  door  of  Notre-Dame  is  seen  at  its  best. 
That  is  at  the  moment  when  the  sun,  already  declining  in  the 
west,  stands  almost  directly  opposite  the  front  of  the  Cathe- 
dral ;  when  his  rays,  becoming  more  and  more  horizontal, 
slowly  retreat  from  the  flag-stones  of  the  Place  and  creep  up 
the  sheer  face  of  the  building,  making  its  innumerable  em- 
bossments stand  forth  from  the  shadow,  while  the  great  cen- 
tral rose-window  flames  like  a  Cyclops's  eye  lit  up  by  the  glow 
of  a  forge. 

It  was  at  this  hour. 

Opposite  to  the  lofty  Cathedral,  now  reddened  by  the  set- 
ting sun,  on  the  stone  balcony  over  the  porch  of  a  handsome 
Gothic  house  at  the  corner  formed  by  the  Place  and  the 
Rue  du  Parvis,  a  group  of  fair  damsels  were  laughing  and 
talking  with  a  great  display  of  pretty  airs  and  graces.     By 

*  A  popular  French  poet  of  the  sixteenth  century,  whose  poem  on  The 
Divine  Week  and  Works  was  translated  by  Joshua  Sylvester  in  the  reign 
of  James  I. 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

the  length  of  the  veils  which  fell  from  the  tip  of  their  pearl- 
encircled  pointed  coif  down  to  their  heels ;  by  the  delicacy  of 
the  embroidered  chemisette  which  covered  the  shoulders  but 
permitted  a  glimpse — according  to  the  engaging  fashion  of  the 
day — of  the  swell  of  the  fair  young  bosom ;  by  the  richness 
of  their  under-petticoats,  more  costly  than  the  overdress 
(exquisite  refinement) ;  by  the  gauze,  the  silk,  the  velvet 
stuffs,  and,  above  all,  by  the  whiteness  of  their  hands,  which 
proclaimed  them  idle  and  unemployed,  it  was  easy  to  divine 
that  they  came  of  noble  and  wealthy  families.  They  were, 
in  efifect,  the  Damoiselle  Fleur-de-Lys  de  Gondelaurier  and 
her  companions,  Diane  de  Christeuil,  Amelotte  de  Mont- 
michel,  Colombe  de  Gaillefontaine,  and  the  little  De  Champ- 
chevrier — all  daughters  of  good  family,  gathered  together  at 
this  moment  in  the  house  of  the  widowed  Mme.  Alo'ise  de 
Gondelaurier,  on  account  of  Monseigneur  the  Lord  of  Beaujeu 
and  Madame  Anne,  his  wife,  who  were  coming  to  Paris  in 
April  in  order  to  choose  the  maids-in-waiting  for  the  Dau- 
phiness  Margaret  when  they  went  to  Picardy  to  receive  her 
from  the  hands  of  the  Flemings.  So  all  the  little  landed  pro- 
prietors for  thirty  leagues  round  were  eager  to  procure  this 
honour  for  their  daughters,  and  many  of  them  had  already 
brought  or  sent  them  to  Paris.  The  above-mentioned  maidens 
had  been  confided  by  their  parents  to  the  discreet  and  unim- 
peachable care  of  Mme.  Alo'ise  de  Gondelaurier,  the  widow 
of  a  captain  of  the  King's  archers,  and  now  living  in  elegant 
retirement  with  her  only  daughter  in  her  mansion  in  the 
Place  du  Parvis,  Notre-Dame,  at  Paris. 

The  balcony  on  which  the  girls  were  seated  opened  out 
of  a  room  richly  hung  with  tawny-coloured  Flanders  leather 
stamped  with  gold  foliage.  The  beams  that  ran  in  parallel 
lines  across  the  ceiling  charmed  the  eye  by  their  thousand 
fantastic  carvings,  painted  and  gilt.  Gorgeous  enamels 
gleamed  here  and  there  from  the  doors  of  inlaid  cabinets ;  a 
wild  boar's  head  in  faience  crowned  a  magnificent  side-board, 
the  two  steps  of  which  proclaimed  the  mistress  of  the  house 
to  be  the  wife  or  widow  of  a  knight  banneret.  At  the  further 
end  of  the  room,  in  a  rich  red  velvet  chair,  beside  a  lofty 
chimney-piece,  blazoned  from  top  to  bottom  with  coats  of 
arms,  sat  Mme.  de  Gondelaurier,  whose  five-and-fifty  years 

236 


Danger  in  Confiding  a  Secret  to  a  Goat 

were  no  less  distinctly  written  on  her  dress  than  on  her 
face. 

Beside  her  stood  a  young  man  whose  native  air  of  breed- 
ing was  somewhat  heavily  tinged  with  vanity  and  bravado — 
one  of  those  handsome  fellows  whom  all  women  are  agreed 
in  adoring,  let  wiseacres  and  physiognomists  shake  their  heads 
as  they  will.  This  young  cavalier  w^ore  the  brilliant  uniform 
of  a  captain  of  the  King's  archers,  which  too  closely  resembles 
the  costume  of  Jupiter,  which  the  reader  has  had  an  oppor- 
tunity of  admiring  at  the  beginning  of  this  history,  for  us 
to  inflict  on  him  a  second  description. 

The  damoiselles  were  seated,  some  just  inside  the  room, 
some  on  the  balcony,  on  cushions  of  Utrecht  velvet  with  gold 
corners,  or  on  elaborately  carved  oak  stools.  Each  of  them 
held  on  her  knees  part  of  a  great  piece  of  needlework  on 
which  they  were  all  engaged,  while  a  long  end  of  it  lay  spread 
over  the  matting  which  covered  the  floor. 

They  were  talking  among  themselves  with  those  w-hispers 
and  stifled  bursts  of  laughter  which  are  the  sure  signs  of  a 
young  man's  presence  among  a  party  of  girls.  The  young 
man  himself  who  set  all  these  feminine  wiles  in  motion,  ap- 
peared but  little  impressed  thereby,  and  while  the  pretty 
creatures  vied  with  one  another  in  their  endeavours  to  attract 
his  attention,  he  was  chiefly  occupied  in  polishing  the  buckle 
of  his  sword-belt  with  his  doeskin  glove. 

From  time  to  time  the  old  lady  addressed  him  in  a  low 
voice,  and  he  answered  as  well  as  might  be  with  a  sort  of 
awkward  and  constrained  politeness.  From  the  smiles  and 
significant  gestures  of  Madame  Aloi'se,  and  the  meaning 
glances  she  threw  at  her  daughter,  Fleur-de-Lys,  as  she  talked 
to  the  captain,  it  was  evident  that  the  conversation  turned  on 
some  betrothal  already  accomplished  or  a  marriage  in  the 
near  future  between  the  young  man  and  the  daughter  of  the 
house.  Also,  from  the  cold  and  embarrassed  air  of  the  officer, 
it  was  plainly  to  be  seen  that,  as  far  as  he  was  concerned, 
there  was  no  longer  any  question  of  love.  His  whole  de- 
meanour expressed  a  degree  of  constraint  and  ennui  such  as 
a  modern  subaltern  would  translate  in  the  admirable  language 
of  to-day  by,  "  What  a  beastly  bore !  " 

The  good  lady,  infatuated  like  many  another  mother  with 

237 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

her  daughter,  never  noticed  the  officer's  lack  of  enthusiasm; 
but  gave  herself  infinite  pains  to  call  his  attention  in  a  whisper 
to  the  matchless  grace  with  which  Fleur-de-Lys  used  her 
needle  or  unwound  her  silk  thread. 

"Look,  little  cousin,"  said  she,  pulling  him  by  the  sleeve  and 
speaking  into  his  ear,  "  look  at  her  now — now,  as  she  bends." 

"  Quite  so,"  replied  the  young  man ;  and  he  fell  back  into 
his  former  icy  and  abstracted  silence. 

The  next  moment  he  had  to  lean  down  again  to  Madame 
Alo'ise.  "  Have  you  ever,"  said  she,  "  seen  a  blither  and 
more  engaging  creature  than  your  intended?  She  is  all  lily- 
white  and  golden.  Those  hands,  how  perfect  and  accom- 
plished !  and  that  neck,  has  it  not  all  the  ravishing  curves  of 
a  swan's  ?  How  I  envy  you  at  times !  and  how  fortunate 
you  are  in  being  a  man,  naughty  rake  that  you  are !  Is  not 
my  Fleur-de-Lys  beautiful  to  adoration,  and  you  head  over 
ears  in  love  with  her  ?  " 

"  Assuredly,"  he  replied,  thinking  of  something  else. 

"  Speak  to  her,  then,"  said  Madame  Aloise,  pushing  him 
by  the  shoulder.  "  Go  and  say  something  to  her ;  you  have 
grown  strangely  timid." 

We  can  assure  our  readers  that  timidity  was  no  virtue  or 
fault  of  the  captain.  He  made  an  efifort,  however,  to  do  as 
he  was  bid. 

"  Fair  cousin,"  said  he,  approaching  Fleur-de-Lys,  "  what 
is  the  subject  of  this  piece  of  tapestry  you  are  working  at?" 

"  Fair  cousin,"  answered  Fleur-de-Lys  somewhat  pettishly, 
"  I  have  already  informed  you  three  times.  It  is  the  grotto 
of  Neptune." 

It  was  evident  that  Fleur-de-Lys  saw  more  plainly  than 
her  mother  through  the  cold  and  absent  manner  of  the  cap- 
tain. He  felt  the  necessity  of  pursuing  the  conversation 
further. 

"  And  who  is  to  benefit  by  all  this  fine  Neptunery  ? " 
he  asked. 

"  It  is  for  the  Abbey  of  Saint-Antoine-des-Champs,"  an- 
swered Fleur-de-Lys,  without  raising  her  eyes. 

The  captain  picked  up  a  corner  of  the  tapestry.  "  And 
pray,  fair  cousin,  who  may  be  this  big,  puffy-cheeked  gen- 
darme blowing  a  trumpet  ?  " 

238 


Danger  in  Confiding  a  Secret  to  a  Goat 

"  That  is  Triton,"  she  repHed. 

There  was  still  a  touch  of  resentment  in  the  tone  of  these 
brief  answers,  and  the  young  man  understood  perfectly  that 
it  behooved  him  to  whisper  in  her  ear  some  pretty  nothing, 
some  stereotyped  gallantry — no  matter  what.  He  bent  over 
her  accordingly,  but  his  imagination  could  furnish  nothing 
more  tender  or  personal  than  :  "  Why  does  your  mother  always 
wear  a  gown  emblazoned  with  her  heraldic  device,  as  our 
grandmothers  did  in  the  time  of  Charles  ^TI?  Prithee,  fair 
cousin,  tell  her  that  is  no  longer  the  fashion  of  the  day, 
and  that  these  hinges  and  laurel-trees  embroidered  on  her 
gown  make  her  appear  like  a  walking  mantel-piece.  Nobody 
sits  on  their  banner  like  that  nowadays,  I  do  assure  you !  " 

Fleur-de-Lys  raised  her  fine  eyes  to  him  reproachfully. 
"  And  is  that  all  you  have  to  assure  me  of  ?  "  she  asked  in 
low  tones. 

Meanwhile  the  good  Dame  Aloise,  overjoyed  to  see  them 
thus  leaning  together  and  whispering,  exclaimed  as  she  trifled 
with  the  clasps  of  her  book  of  hours :  "  Touching  scene  of 
love !  " 

The  captain,  more  and  more  embarrassed,  returned  help- 
lessly to  the  subject  of  the  tapestry.  "  I'  faith,  a  charming 
piece  of  work !  "  he  exclaimed. 

At  this  juncture  Colombe  de  Gaillefontaine,  another  pink- 
and-white,  golden-haired  beauty,  dressed  in  pale  blue  damask, 
ventured  a  shy  remark  to  Fleur-de-Lys,  hoping  however  that 
the  handsome  soldier  would  answer  her. 

"  Dear  Gondelaurier,  have  you  seen  the  tapestries  at  the 
Hotel  de  la  Roche-Guyon  ?  " 

"  Is  not  that  where  there  is  a  garden  belonging  to  the 
Linenkeeper  of  the  Louvre  ?  "  asked  Diane  de  Christeuil  with 
a  laugh ;  for  having  beautiful  teeth  she  laughed  on  all 
occasions. 

"  And  where  there  is  a  great  ancient  tower,  part  of  the 
old  wall  of  Paris?"  added  Amelotte  de  Montmichel,  a  charm- 
ing, curly-haired,  bright-complexioned  brunette,  who  had  a 
trick  of  sighing,  just  as  Diane  laughed,  without  any  valid 
reason. 

"  My  dear  Colombe,"  said  Dame  Aloise,  "  do  you  mean 
the  Hotel  which  belonged  to  M.  de  Bacqueville  in  the  reign 

239 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

of  King  Charles  VI  ?  There  are,  in  effect,  some  superb  high- 
warp  tapestries  there." 

"  Charles  VI — King  Charles  VI !  "  muttered  the  young 
officer,  twirling  his  mustache.  "  Heavens !  how  far  back  does 
the  old  lady's  memory  reach  ?  " 

"  Superb  tapestries ! "  repeated  Mme.  de  Gondelaurier. 
"  So  much  so,  indeed,  that  they  are  accounted  absolutely 
unique." 

At  this  moment  Berangere  de  Champchevrier,  a  slip  of  a 
little  girl  of  seven,  who  had  been  looking  down  into  the  Place 
through  the  carved  trefoils  of  the  balcony,  cried  out :  "  Oh, 
godmother  Fleur-de-Lys,  do  look  at  this  pretty  girl  dancing 
and  playing  the  tambourine  in  the  street  in  the  middle  of 
that  ring  of  people  !  " 

The  penetrating  rattle  of  a  tambourine  rose  up  to  them 
from  the  square. 

"  Some  gipsy  of  Bohemia,"  said  Fleur-de-Lys,  turning  her 
head  carelessly  towards  the  square. 

"  Let  us  look — let  us  look!  "  cried  her  companions,  eagerly 
running  to  the  balustrade,  while  she  followed  more  slowly, 
musing  on  the  coldness  of  her  betrothed.  The  latter,  thankful 
for  this  incident,  which  cut  short  an  embarrassing  conversa- 
tion, returned  to  the  other  end  of  the  apartment  with  the 
well-contented  air  of  a  soldier  relieved  from  duty. 

Yet  it  was  an  easy  and  pleasant  service,  that  of  being  on 
duty  at  the  side  of  the  fair  Fleur-de-Lys,  and  time  was  when 
he  had  thought  it  so.  But  the  captain  had  gradually  wearied 
of  it,  and  the  thought  of  his  approaching  marriage  grew  more 
distasteful  to  him  every  day.  Moreover,  he  was  of  inconstant 
disposition,  and,  we  are  bound  to  confess,  of  somewhat 
vulgar  proclivities.  Although  of  very  noble  birth,  he  had 
with  his  uniform  adopted  many  of  the  low  habits  of  the 
common  soldier.  The  tavern  and  all  that  belongs  to  it  de- 
lighted him ;  and  he  was  never  at  his  ease  but  amid  gross 
language,  military  gallantries,  facile  beauties,  and  easy  con- 
quests. Nevertheless,  he  had  received  from  his  family  a  cer- 
tain amount  of  education  and  polish,  but  he  had  too  early 
been  allowed  to  run  loose,  had  been  thrust  too  young  into 
garrison  life,  and  the  varnish  of  polite  manner  had  not  been 
sufficiently  thick  to  withstand  the   constant   friction   of  the 

240 


Danger  in  Confiding  a  Secret  to  a  Goat 

soldier's  harness.  Though  still  visiting  her  occasionally,  from 
some  last  remnant  of  kindly  feeling,  he  felt  himself  increas- 
ingly constrained  in  the  presence  of  Fleur-de-Lys ;  partly 
because  by  dint  of  dividing  his  love  so  freely  on  all  sides, 
he  had  very  little  left  for  her;  partly  because  in  the  presence 
of  these  stiff,  decorous,  and  well-bred  beauties,  he  went  in 
constant  fear  lest  his  tongue,  accustomed  to  the  great  oaths 
of  the  guard-room,  should  suddenly  get  the  better  of  him 
and  rap  out  some  word  that  would  appal  them. 

And  yet  with  all  this  he  combined  great  pretensions  to 
elegance,  to  sumptuous  dress,  and  noble  bearing.  Let  the 
reader  reconcile  these  qualities  for  himself.  I  am  merely 
the  historian. 

He  had  been  standing  for  some  moments,  in  silence,  lean- 
ing against  the  chimney-piece,  thinking  of  something  or  per- 
haps of  nothing  at  all,  when  Fleur-de-Lys  suddenly  turning 
round  addressed  him.  After  all,  it  went  very  much  against 
the  poor  girl's  heart  to  keep  up  any  show  of  coldness 
towards  him. 

"  Cousin,  did  you  not  tell  us  of  a  little  gipsy  girl  you  had 
rescued  out  of  the  hands  of  a  band  of  robbers  about  tW'O 
months  ago,  when  you  were  going  the  counter-watch  at 
night?" 

"  I  believe  I  did,  fair  cousin,"  answered  the  captain. 

"  Well,"  she  resumed,  "  perhaps  this  is  the  very  girl  danc- 
ing now  in  the  Parvis.  Come  and  see  if  you  recognise  her, 
Cousin  Phoebus." 

A  secret  desire  for  reconciliation  sounded  through  this 
gentle  invitation  to  her  side,  and  in  the  care  she  took  to  call 
him  by  his  name.  Captain  Phoebus  de  Chateaupers  (for  it  is  he 
whom  the  reader  has  had  before  him  since  the  beginning  of 
this  chapter)  accordingly  slowly  approached  the  balcony, 

"  Look,"  said  Fleur-de-Lys,  tenderly  laying  her  hand  on 
his  arm,  "  look  at  the  girl  dancing  there  in  the  ring.  Is  that 
your  gipsy  ?  " 

Phoebus  looked.  "  Yes,"  said  he,  "  I  know  her  by 
her  goat." 

"  Oh,  what  a  pretty  little  goat ! "  cried  Amelotte,  clapping 
her  hands  delightedly. 

"  Are  its  horns  real  gold?"  asked  Berangere. 

241 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Without  rising  from  her  seat,  Dame  Alo'ise  inquired :  "  Is 
that  one  of  the  band  of  Bohemians  who  arrived  last  year  by 
the  Porte  Gibard  ?  " 

"  Lady  mother,"  said  Fleur-de-Lys  gently,  "  that  gate  is 
now  called  Porte  d'Enfer." 

Mile,  de  Gondelaurier  was  well  aware  how  much  the  cap- 
tain was  shocked  by  her  mother's  antiquated  modes  of  ex- 
pression. Indeed,  he  muttered  with  a  disdainful  laugh : 
"  Porte  Gibard !  Porte  Gibard !  That  is  to  give  passage  to 
King  Charles  VI,  no  doubt !  " 

"Godmother!"  exclaimed  Berangere,  whose  quick  and 
restless  eyes  were  suddenly  attracted  to  the  top  of  the  towers 
of  Notre-Dame.     "  Who  is  that  man  in  black  up  there  ?  " 

All  the  girls  looked  up.  A  man  was  leaning  with  his 
elbows  on  the  topmost  parapet  of  the  northern  tower  which 
looked  towards  the  Greve.  It  was  a  priest — as  could  be 
seen  by  his  dress — and  they  could  clearly  distinguish  his 
face,  which  was  resting  on  his  two  hands.  He  stood  as  mo- 
tionless as  a  statue,  and  in  his  gaze,  fixed  steadily  on  the 
Place  beneath  him,  there  was  something  of  the  immobility 
of  the  kite  looking  down  upon  the  sparrow's  nest  it  has 
just  discovered. 

"  It  is  Monsieur  the  Archdeacon  of  Josas,"  said  Fleur- 
de-Lys. 

"  You  must  have  good  sight  to  recognise  him  at  this 
distance,"  observed  La  Gaillefontaine. 

"  How  he  glares  at  the  little  dancer ! "  said  Diane  de 
Christeuil. 

"  Then  let  the  Egyptian  beware,"  said  Fleur-de-Lys,  "  for 
he  loves  not  Egypt." 

"  'Tis  a  pity  he  should  look  at  her  like  that,"  added  Ame- 
lotte  de  Montmichel,  "  for  she  dances  most  bewitchingly." 

"  Cousin  Phcebus,"  said  Fleur-de-Lys  impulsively,  "  since 
you  know  this  gipsy  girl,  will  you  not  beckon  to  her  to 
come  up  here — it  will  divert  us." 

"  Oh,  yes !  "  cried  the  other  girls,  clapping  their  hands 
gleefully. 

"  What  a  madcap  idea !  "  replied  Phoebus.  "  Doubtless 
she  has  forgotten  me,  and  I  do  not  even  know  her  name. 
However,  as  you  wish  it,  mesdamoiselles,  I  will  see  what  I 

242 


Danger  in  Confiding  a  Secret  to  a  Goat 

can  do."  And  leaning  over  the  balcony  he  called  out, 
"  Little  one  !  " 

The  dancing  girl  was  not  playing  her  tambourine  at  that 
moment.  She  turned  her  head  towards  the  spot  from  which 
the  voice  came,  her  brilliant  eyes  caught  sight  of  Phoebus, 
and  she  suddenly  stood  still. 

"  Little  one,"  repeated  the  captain,  and  he  motioned  to 
her  to  come  up. 

The  girl  looked  at  him  again,  then  blushed  as  if  a  flame 
had  risen  to  her  cheeks,  and  taking  her  tambourine  under 
her  arm,  she  made  her  way  through  the  gaping  crowd  towards 
the  door  of  the  house  whence  Phoebus  called  her,  her  step 
slow  and  uncertain,  and  with  the  troubled  glance  of  a  bird 
yielding  to  the  fascination  of  a  serpent, 

A  moment  later  the  tapestry  was  raised,  and  the  gipsy 
appeared  on  the  threshold  of  the  room,  flushed,  shy,  panting, 
her  great  eyes  lowered,  not  daring  to  advance  a  step  farther. 

Berangere  clapped  her  hands. 

But  the  dancing  girl  stood  motionless  in  the  doorway. 
Her  sudden  appearance  produced  a  curious  effect  on  the 
group.  There  is  no  doubt  that  a  vague  and  indistinct  desire 
to  please  the  handsome  officer  animated  the  whole  party,  and 
that  the  brilliant  uniform  was  the  target  at  which  they  aimed 
all  their  coquettish  darts ;  also,  from  the  time  of  his  being 
present  there  had  arisen  among  them  a  certain  covert  rivalry, 
scarcely  acknowledged  to  themselves,  but  v/hich  was  none 
tlie  less  constantly  revealed  in  their  gestures  and  in  their 
remarks.  Nevertheless,  as  they  all  possessed  much  the  same 
degree  of  beauty,  they  fought  with  the  same  weapons,  and 
each  might  reasonably  hope  for  victory.  The  arrival  of  the 
gipsy  roughly  destroyed  this  equilibrium.  Her  beauty  was  of 
so  rare  a  quality  that  the  moment  she  entered  the  room  she 
seemed  to  ilkiminate  it  with  a  sort  of  light  peculiar  to  her- 
self. In  this  restricted  space,  in  this  rich  frame  of  sombre 
hangings  and  dark  panelling,  she  was  incomparably  more 
beautiful  and  radiant  than  in  the  open  square.  It  was  like 
bringing  a  torch  out  of  the  daylight  into  the  shade.  The 
noble  maidens  were  dazzled  by  her  in  spite  of  themselves. 
Each  one  felt  that  her  beauty  had  in  some  degree  suffered. 
Consequently  they   instantly   and  with  one  accord   changed 

243 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

their  line  of  battle  (if  we  may  be  allowed  the  term)  without 
a  single  word  having  passed  between  them.  For  the  instincts 
of  women  understand  and  respond  to  one  another  far  quicker 
than  the  intelligence  of  men,  A  common  foe  stood  in  their 
midst ;  they  all  felt  it,  and  combined  for  defence.  One  drop 
of  wine  is  sufficient  to  tinge  a  whole  glass  of  water ;  to  diflfuse 
a  certain  amount  of  ill  temper  throughout  a  gathering  of 
pretty  women,  it  is  only  necessary  for  one  still  prettier  to 
arrive  upon  the"  scene,  especially  if  there  is  but  one  man  of 
the  company. 

Thus  the  gipsy  girl's  reception  w-as  glacial  in  its  coldness. 
They  looked  her  up  and  down,  then  turned  to  each  other, 
and  all  was  said;  they  were  confederates.  Meanwhile  the 
girl,  waiting  in  vain  for  them  to  address  her,  was  so  covered 
with  confusion  that  she  dared  not  raise  her  eyes. 

The  captain  was  the  first  to  break  the  silence,  "  F  faith," 
he  said,  with  his  air  of  fatuous  assurance,  "  a  bewitching  crea- 
ture!     What  say  you,  fair  cousin?" 

This  remark,  which  a  more  tactful  admirer  would  at  least 
have  made  in  an  undertone,  was  not  calculated  to  allay  the 
feminine  jealousy  so  sharply  on  the  alert  in  the  presence  of 
the  gipsy  girl. 

Fleur-de-Lys  answered  her  iiancc  in  an  affected  tone  of 
contemptuous  indifference,  "  Ah,  not  amiss." 

The  others  put  their  heads  together  and  whispered. 

At  last  Madame  Alo'ise,  not  the  least  jealous  of  the  party 
because  she  was  so  for  her  daughter,  accosted  the  dancer : 
"  Come  hither,  little  one." 

"  Come  hither,  little  one,"  repeated,  with  comical  dignity, 
Berangere,  who  w^ould  have  reached  about  to  her  elbow. 

The  Egyptian  advanced  towards  the  noble  lady. 

"  Pretty  one,"  said  Phoebus,  impressively  advancing  on 
his  side  a  step  or  two  towards  her,  "  I  know  not  if  I  enjoy 
the  supreme  felicity  of  being  remembered  by  you ;  but " 

She  interrupted  him,  with  a  smile  and  a  glance  of  infinite 
sweetness — "  Oh,  yes,"  she  said. 

"  She  has  a  good  memory,"  observed  Fleur-de-Lys. 

"  Well,"  resumed  Phoebus,  "  but  you  fled  in  a  great  hurry 
that  evening.     Were  you  frightened  of  me  ?  " 

"  Oh,  no,"  answered  the  gipsy.     And  in  the  tone  of  this 

244 


Danger  in  Confiding  a  Secret  to  a  Goat 

"  Oh,  no,"  following  on  the  "  Oh,  yes,"  there  was  an  inde- 
finable something  which  stabbed  poor  Fleur-de-Lys  to  the 
heart. 

"  You  left  in  your  stead,  ma  belle,"  continued  the  soldier, 
whose  tongue  was  loosened  now  that  he  spoke  to  a  girl  of 
the  streets,  "  a  wry-faced,  one-eyed  hunchback  varlet — the 
Bishop's  bell-ringer,  by  what  I  can  hear.  They  tell  me  he 
is  an  archdeacon's  bastard  and  a  devil  by  birth.  He  has  a 
droll  name  too — Ember  Week — Palm  Sunday — Shrove  Tues- 
day— something  of  that  kind — some  bell-ringing  festival  name, 
at  any  rate.  And  so  he  had  the  assurance  to  carry  you  off, 
as  if  you  were  made  for  church  beadles !  It  was  like  his 
impudence.  And  what  the  devil  did  he  want  with  you,  this 
screech-owl,  eh  ?  " 

"  I  do  not  know,"  she  answered. 

"  Conceive  of  such  insolence !  A  bell-ringer  to  carry  off 
a  girl,  like  a  vicomte — a  clown  poaching  on  a  gentleman's 
preserves !  Unheard-of  presumption  !  For  the  rest,  he  paid 
dearly  for  it.  Master  Pierrat  Torterue  is  the  roughest  groom 
that  ever  curried  a  rascal ;  and  I  can  tell  you,  for  your  satis- 
faction, that  your  bell-ringer's  hide  got  a  thorough  dressing 
at  his  hands." 

"  Poor  man ! "  murmured  the  gipsy,  recalling  at  these 
words  the  scene  of  the  pillory. 

The  captain  burst  out  laughing.  "Come  de  hoeiif\  your  pity 
is  as  well-placed  as  a  feather  in  a  sow's  tail !  May  I  have 
a  paunch  like  a  pope,  if — "  He  drew  up  short.  "  Crave  your 
pardon,  mesdames !  I  believe  I  was  on  the  point  of  for- 
getting myself." 

"  Fie,  sir !  "  said  La  Gaillefontaine. 

"  He  speaks  to  this  creature  in  her  own  language,"  said 
Fleur-de-Lys  under  her  breath,  her  vexation  increasing  with 
every  moment.  Nor  was  this  vexation  diminished  by  seeing 
the  captain  delighted  with  the  gipsy  girl,  but  still  more  with 
himself,  turn  on  his  heel  and  repeat  with  blatant  and  soldier- 
like gallantry :  "  A  lovely  creature,  on  my  soul !  " 

"  Very  barbarously  dressed !  "  observed  Diane  de  Chris- 
teuil,  showing  her  white  teeth. 

This  remark  was  a  flash  of  light  to  the  others.  It  shoAved 
them  where  to  direct  their  attack  on  the  gipsy.     There  being 

245 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

no  vulnerable  spot  in  her  beauty,  they  threw  themselves  upon 
her  dress. 

"  That  is  very  true,"  said  La  Montmichel.  "  Pray,  how 
comest  thou  to  be  running  thus  barenecked  about  the  streets, 
without  either  gorget  or  kerchief?  " 

"  And  a  petticoat  so  short  as  to  fill  one  with  alarm,"  added 
La  Gaillefontaine. 

"  My  girl,"  continued  Fleur-de-Lys  spitefully,  "  thou  wilt 
certainly  be  fined  for  that  gold  belt." 

"  My  poor  girl,"  said  Diane,  with  a  cruel  smile,  "  if  thou 
hadst  the  decency  to  wear  sleeves  on  thy  arms,  they  would 
not  be  so  burned  by  the  sun." 

It  was  a  sight  worthy  of  a  more  intelligent  spectator 
than  Phoebus,  to  watch  how  these  high-born  maidens  darted 
their  envenomed  tongues,  and  coiled  and  glided  and  wound 
serpent-like  about  the  hapless  dancing  girl.  Smiling  and 
cruel,  they  pitilessly  searched  and  appraised  all  her  poor 
artless  finery  of  spangles  and  tinsel.  Then  followed  the  heart- 
less laugh,  the  cutting  irony,  humiliations  without  end.  Sar- 
casm, supercilious  praise,  and  spiteful  glances  descended  on 
the  gipsy  girl  from  every  side.  One  might  have  judged  them 
to  be  those  high-born  Roman  ladies  who  amused  themselves 
by  thrusting  golden  pins  into  the  bosom  of  a  beautiful  slave, 
or  graceful  greyhounds  circling  with  distended  nostrils  and 
flaming  eyes  round  some  poor  hind  of  the  forest,  and  only 
prevented  by  their  master's  eye  from  devouring  it  piecemeal. 
And  what  was  she  after  all  to  these  high-born  damsels  but  a 
miserable  dancing  girl  of  the  streets  ?  They  seemed  to  ignore 
the  fact  of  her  presence  altogether,  and  spoke  of  her  to  her 
face  as  of  something  degraded  and  unclean,  though  diverting 
enough  to  make  jest  of. 

The  Egyptian  was  not  insensible  to  these  petty  stings. 
From  time  to  time  a  blush  of  shame  burned  in  her  cheek,  a 
flash  of  anger  in  her  eyes ;  a  disdainful  retort  seemed  to  trem- 
ble on  her  lips,  and  she  made  the  little  contemptuous  pout 
with  which  the  reader  is  familiar.  But  she  remained  silent, 
motionless,  her  eyes  fixed  on  Phoebus  with  a  look  of  resigna- 
tion infinitely  sweet  and  sad.  In  this  gaze  there  mingled,  too, 
both  joy  and  tenderness ;  she  seemed  to  restrain  herself  for 
fear  of  being  driven  away. 

246 


Danger  in  Confiding  a  Secret  to  a  Goat 

As  for  Phoebus,  he  laughed  and  took  the  gipsy's  part  with 
a  mixture  of  impertinence  and  pity. 

"  Let  them  talk,  child !  "  he  said,  jingling  his  gold  spurs. 
"  Doubtless  your  costume  is  somewhat  strange  and  extrava- 
gant ;  but  when  a  girl  is  so  charming  as  you,  what  does 
it  matter?" 

"  Mon  Dieu!  "  cried  La  Gaillefontaine,  drawing  up  her  swan- 
like neck,  with  a  bitter  smile.  "  It  is  evident  that  Messieurs 
the  King's  archers  take  fire  easily  at  the  bright  gipsy  eyes." 

"Why  not?"  said  Phoebus. 

At  this  rejoinder,  uttered  carelessly  by  the  captain,  as  one 
throws  a  stone  at  random  without  troubling  to  see  where  it 
falls,  Colombe  began  to  laugh  and  Amolette  and  Diane  and 
Fleur-de-Lys,  though  a  tear  rose  at  the  same  time  to  the 
eye  of  the  latter. 

The  gipsy  girl,  who  had  dropped  her  eyes  as  Colombe  and 
La  Gaillefontaine  spoke,  raised  them  now  all  radiant  with  joy 
and  pride  and  fixed  them  again  on  Phoebus.  At  that  mo- 
ment she  was  dazzlingly  beautiful. 

The  elder  lady,  while  she  observed  the  scene,  felt  vaguely 
incensed  without  knowing  exactly  why. 

"  Holy  Virgin !  "  she  suddenly  exclaimed,  "  what  is  this 
rubbing  against  my  legs  ?     Ah,  the  horrid  beast !  " 

It  was  the  goat,  just  arrived  in  search  of  its  mistress,  and 
which,  in  hurrying  towards  her,  had  got  its  horns  entangled  in 
the  voluminous  folds  of  the  noble  lady's  gown,  which  always 
billowed  round  her  wherever  she  sat. 

This  caused  a  diversion,  and  the  gipsy  silently  freed  the 
little  creature. 

"  Ah,  it  is  the  little  goat  with  the  golden  hoofs !  "  cried 
Berangere,  jumping  with  joy. 

The  gipsy  girl  crouched  on  her  knees  and  pressed  her 
cheek  fondly  against  the  goat's  sleek  head,  as  if  begging  its 
forgiveness  for  having  left  it  behind. 

At  this  Diane  bent  over  and  whispered  in  Colombe's  ear: 
"Ah,  how  did  I  not  think  of  it  before?  This  is  the  gipsy 
girl  with  the  goat.  They  say  she  is  a  witch,  and  that  her 
goat  performs  some  truly  miraculous  tricks." 

"  Very  well,"  said  Colombe ;  "  then  let  the  goat  amuse  us 
in  its  turn,  and  show  us  a  miracle." 

247 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Diane  and  Colombe  accordingly  addressed  the  gipsy 
eagerly. 

"  Girl,  make  thy  goat  perform  a  miracle  for  us." 

"  I  do  not  know  what  you  mean,"  answered  the  gipsy. 

"  A  miracle — a  conjuring  trick — a  feat  of  witchcraft, 
in  fact." 

"  I  do  not  understand,"  she  repeated,  and  fell  to  caressing 
the  pretty  creature  again,  murmuring  fondly,  "  Djali !  Djali !  " 

At  that  moment  Fleur-de-Lys  remarked  a  little  embroid- 
ered leather  bag  hanging  round  the  goat's  neck.  "  What  is 
that?"  she  asked  of  the  gipsy. 

The  gipsy  raised  her  large  eyes  to  her  and  answered 
gravely,  "  That  is  my  secret." 

Meanwhile  the  lady  of  the  house  had  risen.  "  Come,  gipsy 
girl,"  she  exclaimed  angrily ;  "  if  thou  and  thy  goat  will  not 
dance  for  us,  what  do  you  here  ?  " 

Without  a  word  the  gipsy  rose  and  turned  towards  the 
door.  But  the  nearer  she  approached  it,  the  more  reluctant 
became  her  step.  An  irresistible  magnet  seemed  to  hold  her 
back.  Suddenly  she  turned  her  brimming  eyes  on  Phoebus, 
and  stood  still. 

"  Vrai  Dieti!"  cried  the  captain,  "you  shall  not  leave  us 
thus.  Come  back  and  dance  for  us.  By-the-bye,  sweetheart, 
how  are  you  called  ?  " 

"  Esmeralda,"  answered  the  dancing  girl,  without  taking 
her  eyes  oflf  him. 

At  this  strange  name  the  girls  burst  into  a  chorus  of 
laughter. 

"  Truly  a  formidable  name  for  a  demoiselle ! "  sneered 
Diane. 

"  You  see  now,"  said  Amelotte,  "  that  she  is  a  sorceress." 

"  Child,"  exclaimed  Dame  Alo'ise  solemnly,  "  your  parents 
never  drew  that  name  for  you  out  of  the  baptismal  font !  " 

For  some  minutes  past  Berangere,  to  w'hom  nobody  was 
paying  any  attention,  had  managed  to  entice  the  goat  into 
a  corner  with  a  piece  of  marchpane,  and  immediately  they 
had  become  the  best  of  friends.  The  inquisitive  child  had 
then  detached  the  little  bag  from  the  goat's  neck,  opened  it, 
and  emptied  its  contents  on  to  the  floor.  It  was  an  alphabet, 
each  letter  being  written  separately  on  a  small  tablet  of  wood. 

248 


Danger  in  Confiding  a   Secret  to  a  Goat 

No  sooner  were  these  toys  displayed  on  the  matting  than,  to 
the  child's  delighted  surprise,  the  goat  (of  whose  miracles  this 
was  no  doubt  one)  proceeded  to  separate  certain  letters  with 
her  golden  fore-foot,  and  by  dint  of  pushing  them  gently 
about  ranged  them  in  a  certain  order.  In  a  minute  they 
formed  a  word,  which  the  goat  seemed  practised  in  composing, 
to  judge  by  the  ease  with  which  she  accomplished  the  task. 
Berangere  clasped  her  hands  in  admiration. 

"  Godmother  Fleur-de-Lys,"  she  cried,  "  come  and  see 
what  the  goat  has  done !  " 

Fleur-de-Lys  ran  to  look,  and  recoiled  at  the  sight.  The 
letters  disposed  upon  the  floor  formed  the  word, 

P-H-0-E-B-U-S. 

"The  goat  put  that  word  together?"  she  asked  excitedly. 

"  Yes,  godmother,"  answered  Berangere.  It  was  impos- 
sible to  doubt  it ;  the  child  could  not  spell. 

"  So  this  is  the  secret,"  thought  Fleur-de-Lys. 

By  this  time  the  rest  of  the  party  had  come  forward  to 
look — the  mother,  the  girls,  the  gipsy,  the  young  soldier. 

The  Bohemian  saw  the  blunder  the  goat  had  involved  her 
in.  She  turned  red  and  white,  and  then  began  to  tremble  like 
a  guilty  creature  before  the  captain,  who  gazed  at  her  with  a 
smile  of  satisfaction  and  astonishment. 

"Phoebus!"  whispered  the  girls  in  amazement;  "that  is 
the  name  of  the  captain  !  " 

"  You  have  a  wonderful  memory !  "  said  Fleur-de-Lys  to 
the  stupefied  gipsy  girl.  Then,  bursting  into  tears :  "  Oh," 
she  sobbed,  "  she  is  a  sorceress !  "  While  a  still  more  bitter 
voice  whispered  in  her  inmost  heart,  "  She  is  a  rival !  "  And 
she  swooned  in  her  mother's  arms. 

"  My  child !  my  child  !  "  cried  the  terrified  mother.  "  Be- 
gone, diabolical  gipsy !  " 

In  a  trice  Esmeralda  gathered  up  the  unlucky  letters, 
made  a  sign  to  Djali,  and  quitted  the  room  by  one  door,  as 
they  carried  Fleur-de-Lys  out  by  another. 

Captain  Phoebus,  left  alone,  hesitated  a  moment  between 
the  two  doors — then  followed  the  gipsy  girl. 


249 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 


II 


SHOWING   THAT   A   PRIEST   AND   A    PHILOSOPHER   ARE   NOT   THE 

SAME 

The  priest  whom  the  young  girls  had  remarked  leaning 
over  the  top  of  the  north  tower  of  the  Cathedral  and  gazing 
so  intently  at  the  gipsy's  dancing,  was  no  other  than  the 
Archdeacon  Claude  Frollo. 

Our  readers  have  not  forgotten  the  mysterious  cell  which 
the  archdeacon  had  appropriated  to  himself  in  this  tower. 
(By  the  way,  I  do  not  know  but  what  it  is  the  same,  the 
interior  of  which  may  be  seen  to  this  day  through  a  small 
square  window,  opening  to  the  east  at  about  a  man's  height 
from  the  floor  upon  the  platform  from  which  the  towers 
spring — a  mere  den  now,  naked,  empty,  and  falling  to  decay, 
the  ill-plastered  walls  of  which  are  decorated  here  and  there, 
at  the  present  moment,  by  some  hideous  yellow  engravings 
of  cathedral  fronts.  I  presume  that  this  hole  is  jointly  inhab- 
ited by  bats  and  spiders,  so  that  a  double  war  of  extermination 
is  being  carried  on  there  against  the  flies.) 

Every  day,  an  hour  before  sunset,  the  archdeacon  mounted 
the  stair  of  the  tower  and  shut  himself  up  in  this  cell,  where 
he  sometimes  spent  whole  nights.  On  this  day,  just  as  he 
reached  the  low  door  of  his  retreat  and  was  preparing  to  insert 
in  the  lock  the  small  and  intricate  key  he  always  carried  about 
with  him  in  the  pouch  hanging  at  his  side,  the  jingle  of  a 
tambourine  and  of  castanets  suddenly  smote  on  his  ear,  rising 
up  from  the  Place  du  Parvis.  The  cell,  as  we  have  said,  had 
but  one  window  looking  over  the  transept  roof.  Claude 
Frollo  hastily  withdrew  the  key,  and  in  another  moment  was 
on  the  summit  of  the  tower,  in  that  gloomy  and  intent  attitude 
in  which  he  had  been  observed  by  the  group  of  girls. 

There  he  stood,  grave,  motionless,  absorbed  in  one  object, 
one  thought.  All  Paris  was  spread  out  at  his  feet,  with  her 
thousand  turrets,  her  undulating  horizon,  her  river  winding 
under  the  bridges,  her  stream  of  people  flowing  to  and  fro 
in  the  streets ;  with  the  cloud  of  smoke  rising  from  her  many 
chimneys;  with  her  chain  of  crested  roofs  pressing  in  ever 

250 


A  Priest  and  a  Philosopher 

tightening  coils  round  about  Notre-Dame.  But  in  all  that 
great  city  the  Archdeacon  beheld  but  one  spot — the  Place  du 
Parvis;  and  in  that  crowd  but  one  figure — that  of  the  gipsy 
girl. 

It  would  have  been  difficult  to  analyze  the  nature  of  that 
gaze,  or  to  say  whence  sprang  the  flame  that  blazed  in  it. 
His  eyes  were  fixed  and  yet  full  of  anguish  and  unrest ;  and 
from  the  profound  immobility  of  his  whole  body,  only  faintly 
agitated  now  and  then  by  an  involuntary  tremor,  like  a  tree 
shaken  by  the  wind ;  from  his  rigid  arms,  more  stony  than 
the  balustrade  on  which  they  leaned,  and  the  petrified  smile 
that  distorted  his  countenance,  you  would  have  said  that 
nothing  of  Claude  Frollo  was  alive  save  his  eyes. 

The  gipsy  girl  was  dancing  and  twirling  her  tambourine 
on  the  tip  of  her  finger,  throwing  it  aloft  in  the  air  while 
she  danced  the  Pfovengal  saraband ;  agile,  airy,  joyous,  wholly 
unconscious  of  the  sinister  gaze  falling  directly  on  her  head. 

The  crowd  swarmed  round  her;  from  time  to  time,  a  man 
tricked  out  in  a  long  red  and  yellow  coat,  went  round  to 
keep  the  circle  clear,  and  then  returned  to  a  seat  a  few  paces 
from  the  dancer,  and  took  the  head  of  the  goat  upon  his  knee. 
This  man  appeared  to  be  the  companion  of  the  gipsy  girl. 
Claude  Frollo,  from  his  elevated  position,  could  not  distin- 
guish his  features. 

No  sooner  had  the  Archdeacon  caught  sight  of  this  indi- 
vidual, than  his  attention  seemed  divided  between  him  and 
the  dancer,  and  his  face  became  more  and  more  overcast. 
Suddenly  he  drew  himself  up,  and  a  tremor  ran  through  his 
whole  frame.  "  Who  can  that  man  be  ?  "  he  muttered  between 
his  teeth ;  "  I  have  always  seen  her  alone  hitherto." 

He  then  vanished  under  the  winding  roof  of  the  spiral 
staircase,  and  proceeded  to  descend.  As  he  passed  the  half- 
open  door  of  the  belfry,  he  saw  something  which  made  him 
pause.  It  was  Quasimodo,  leaning  out  of  an  opening  in  one 
of  the  great  projecting  slate  eaves  and  likewise  looking 
down  into  the  Place,  but  so  profoundly  absorbed  in  con- 
templation that  he  was  unaware  of  the  passing  of  his  adopted 
father.  His  savage  eye  had  a  singular  expression — a  mingled 
look  of  fondness  and  delight. 

"  How   strange !  "   murmured   Claude.     "  Can   he   too  be 

251 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

looking  at  the  Egyptian  ? "  He  continued  his  descent,  and 
in  a  few  moments  the  troubled  Archdeacon  entered  the  Place 
by  the  door  at  the  bottom  of  the  tower. 

"  What  has  become  of  the  gipsy  ?  "  said  he,  as  he  mingled 
with  the  crowd  which  the  sound  of  the  tambourine  had  drawn 
together.  ; 

"  I  know  not,"  answered  a  bystander ;  "  she  has  just  dis- 
appeared. They  called  to  her  from  the  house  opposite,  and 
so  I  think  she  must  have  gone  to  dance  sorr.ie  fandango 
there." 

Instead  of  the  Egyptian,  on  the  same  carpet,  of  which  the 
arabesques  but  a  moment  before  seemed  to  vanish  beneath 
the  fantastic  weavings  of  her  dances,  the  Archdeacon  now- 
beheld  only  the  red  and  yellow  man ;  who,  in  order  to  earn 
an  honest  penny  in  his  turn,  was  parading  round  the  circle, 
his  arms  akimbo,  his  head  thrown  back,  very  red  in  the  face, 
and  balancing  a  chair  between  his  teeth.  On  this  chair  he 
had  fastened  a  cat  which  a  woman  in  the  crowd  had  lent  him, 
and  which  w^as  swearing  with  fright. 

"  Notre-Dame !  "  cried  the  Archdeacon,  as  the  mounte- 
bank, the  perspiration  pouring  off  his  face,  passed  before  him 
with  his  pyramid  of  cat  and  chair — "  What  does  Maitre  Pierre 
Gringoire  here  ?  " 

The  stern  voice  of  the  Archdeacon  so  startled  the  poor 
devil  that  he  lost  his  balance,  and  w'ith  it  his  whole  erection, 
and  the  chair  and  the  cat  came  toppling  over  right  on  to  the 
heads  of  the  spectators  and  in  the  midst  of  a  deafening  uproar. 

It  is  probable  that  Pierre  Gringoire  (for  it  was  indeed  he) 
would  have  had  a  fine  account  to  settle  with  the  owner  of 
the  cat,  not  to  speak  of  all  the  bruised  and  scratched  faces 
round  him,  had  he  not  hastily  availed  himself  of  the  tumult 
and  taken  refuge  in  the  Cathedral,  whither  Claude  Frolio 
beckoned  him  to  follow. 

The  Cathedral  was  already  dark  and  deserted,  the  transepts 
were  full  of  deepest  shadow,  and  the  lamps  of  the  chapels  were 
beginning  to  twinkle  like  stars  under  the  black  vault  of  the 
roof.  The  great  central  rose-w'indow  alone,  whose  thousand 
tints  were  flooded  by  a  horizontal  stream  of  evening  svmshine, 
gleamed  in  the  shadow  like  a  star  of  diamonds  and  cast  its 
dazzling  image  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  nave, 

252 


A  Priest  and  a  Philosopher 

When  they  had  proceeded  a  few  steps,  Dom  Claude  leaned 
against  a  pillar  and  regarded  Gringoire  steadfastly.  This  look 
was  not  the  one  Gringoire  had  feared  to  encounter  in  his 
shame  at  being  surprised  by  so  grave  and  learned  a  per- 
sonage in  his  merry-andrew  costume.  There  was  in  the 
priest's  gaze  no  touch  of  disdain  or  mockery;  it  was  seri- 
ous, calm,  and  searching.  The  Archdeacon  was  the  first  to 
break  silence. 

"  Now,  Maitre  Pierre,  you  have  many  things  to  explain 
to  me.  And  first,  how  comes  it  that  I  have  seen  nothing  of 
you  for  the  last  two  months,  and  then  find  you  in  the  public 
street  in  noble  guise  i'  sooth ! — part  red,  part  yellow,  like 
a  Caudebec  apple  !  " 

"  Messire,"  answered  Gringoire  plaintively,  "  it  is  in  very 
truth  a  preposterous  outfit,  and  you  behold  me  about  as  com- 
fortable as  a  cat  with  a  pumpkin  on  its  head.  It  is,  I  acknowl- 
edge, an  ill  deed  on  my  part  to  expose  the  gentlemen  of  the 
watch  to  the  risk  of  belabouring,  under  this  motley  coat,  the 
back  of  a  Pythagorean  philosopher.  But  what  would  you, 
my  reverend  master?  The  fault  lies  with  my  old  doublet, 
which  basely  deserted  me  at  the  beginning  of  winter  under 
the  protest  that  it  was  falling  in  rags,  and  that  it  was  under 
the  necessity  of  reposing  itself  in  the  ragman's  pack.  Que 
faire?  Civilization  has  not  yet  reached  that  point  that  one 
may  go  quite  naked,  as  old  Diogenes  would  have  wished. 
Add  to  this  that  the  wind  blew  very  cold,  and  the  month  of 
January  is  not  the  season  to  successfully  initiate  mankind  into 
this  new  mode.  This  coat  offered  itself,  I  accepted  it,  and 
abandoned  my  old  black  tunic,  which,  for  a  hermetic  such 
as  I  am,  was  far  from  being  hermetically  closed.  Behold  me 
then,  in  my  buffoon's  habit,  like  Saint-Genestus.  What  would 
you  have? — it  is  an  eclipse.  Apollo,  as  you  know,  tended  the 
flocks  of  Admetes." 

"A  fine  trade  this  you  have  adopted !  "  remarked  the  Arch- 
deacon. 

"  I  admit,  master,  that  it  is  better  to  philosophize  and 
poetize,  to  blow  fire  in  a  furnace  or  receive  it  from  heaven, 
than  to  be  balancing  cats  in  the  public  squares.  And  when 
you  suddenly  addressed  me,  I  felt  as  stupid  as  an  ass  in  front 
of  a  roasting-pit.    But  what's  to  be  done,  messire  ?     One  must 

253 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

eat  to  live,  and  the  finest  Alexandrine  verses  are  nothing 
between  the  teeth  as  compared  with  a  piece  of  cheese.  Now, 
I  composed  for  the  Lady  Margaret  of  Flanders  that  famous 
epithalamium,  as  you  know-,  and  the  town  has  not  paid  me 
'  for  it,  pretending  that  it  was  not  good  enough ;  as  if  for  four 
crowns  you  could  give  them  a  tragedy  of  Sophocles !  Hence, 
see  you,  I  was  near  dying  of  hunger.  Happily  I  am  fairly 
strong  in  the  jaws ;  so  I  said  to  my  jaw :  '  Perform  some  feats 
of  strength  and  equilibrium — feed  yourself.  Ale  fe  ipsain.' 
A  band  of  vagabonds  who  are  become  my  very  good  friends, 
taught  me  twenty  different  herculean  feats ;  and  now  I  feed 
my  teeth  every  night  with  the  bread  they  have  earned  in  the 
day.  After  all,  concedo,  I  concede  that  it  is  but  a  sorry  employ 
of  my  intellectual  faculties,  and  that  man  is  not  made  to  pass 
his  life  in  tambourining  and  carrying  chairs  in  his  teeth.  But, 
reverend  master,  it  is  not  enough  to  pass  one's  life;  one 
must  keep  it." 

Dom  Claude  listened  in  silence.  Suddenly  his  deep-set 
eye  assumed  so  shrewd  and  penetrating  an  expression  that 
Gringoire  felt  that  the  innermost  recesses  of  his  soul  were 
being  explored. 

"  Very  good,  Master  Pierre ;  but  how  is  it  that  you  are 
now  in  company  with  this  Egyptian  dancing  girl  ?  " 

"  Faith !  "  returned  Gringoire,  "  because  she  is  my  wife 
and  I  am  her  husband." 

The  priest's  sombre  eyes  blazed. 

"  And  hast  thou  done  that,  villain !  "  cried  he,  grasping 
Gringoire  furiously  by  the  arm ;  "  hast  thou  been  so  aban- 
doned of  God  as  to  lay  hand  on  this  girl  ?  " 

"  By  my  hope  of  paradise,  reverend  sir,"  replied  Grin- 
goire, trembling  in  every  limb,  "  I  swear  to  you  that  I  have 
never  touched  her,  if  that  be  what  disturbs  you." 

"  What  then  is  thy  talk  of  husband  and  wife  ?  "  said  the 
priest. 

Gringoire  hastened  to  relate  to  him  as  succinctly  as  possi- 
ble what  the  reader  already  knows :  his  adventure  in  the  Court 
of  Miracles  and  his  broken-pitcher  marriage.  The  marriage 
appeared  as  yet  to  have  had  no  result  whatever,  the  gipsy  girl 
continuing  every  night  to  defraud  him  of  his  conjugal  rights 
as  on  that  first  one.     "  'Tis  mortifying,  and  that's  the  truth," 

254 


A  Priest  and  a  Philosopher 

he  concluded ;  ''  but  it  all  comes  of  my  having  had  the  ill-luck 
to  espouse  a  virgin." 

"  What  do  you  mean  ?  "  asked  the  Archdeacon,  whom  the 
tale  gradually  tranquillized. 

"  It  is  difficult  to  explain,"  returned  the  poet.  "  There  is 
superstition  in  it.  My  wife,  as  an  old  thief  among  us  called 
the  Duke  of  Egypt  has  told  me,  is  a  foundling — or  a  lostling, 
which  is  the  same  thing.  She  wears  about  her  neck  an 
amulet  which,  they  declare,  will  some  day  enable  her  to  find 
her  parents  again,  but  which  would  lose  its  virtue  if  the  girl 
lost  hers.  Whence  it  follows  that  we  both  of  us  remain  per- 
fectly virtuous." 

"  Thus,  you  believe,  Maitre  Pierre,"  resumed  Claude, 
whose  brow  was  rapidly  clearing,  "  that  this  creature  has 
never  yet  been  approached  by  any  man?" 

"  Why,  Dom  Claude,  how  should  a  man  fight  against  a 
superstition?  She  has  got  that  in  her  head.  I  hold  it  to 
be  rare  enough  to  find  this  nunlike  prudery  keeping  itself 
so  fiercely  aloof  among  all  these  easily  conquered  gipsy  girls. 
But  she  has  three  things  to  protect  her:  the  Duke  of  Egypt, 
who  has  taken  her  under  his  wing,  reckoning,  may-be,  to  sell 
her  later  on  to  some  fat  abbot  or  other ;  her  whole  tribe,  who 
hold  her  in  singular  veneration,  like  the  Blessed  Virgin  her- 
self; and  a  certain  pretty  little  dagger,  which  the  jade  always 
carries  about  with  her,  despite  the  provost's  ordinances,  and 
which  darts  out  in  her  hand  when  you  squeeze  her  waist. 
'Tis  a  fierce  wasp,  believe  me !  " 

The  Archdeacon  pressed  Gringoire  with  questions. 

By  Gringoire's  account,  Esmeralda  was  a  harmless  and 
charming  creature;  pretty,  apart  from  a  little  grimace  which 
was  peculiar  to  her ;  artless  and  impassioned ;  ignorant  of 
everything  and  enthusiastic  over  everything;  fond  above  all 
things  of  dancing,  of  all  the  stir  and  movement  of  the  open 
air;  not  dreaming  as  yet  of  the  difference  between  man  and 
woman ;  a  sort  of  human  bee,  with  invisible  wings  to  her  feet, 
and  living  in  a  perpetual  whirlwind.  She  owed  this  nature  to 
the  wandering  life  she  had  led.  Gringoire  had  ascertained 
that,  as  quite  a  little  child,  she  had  gone  all  through  Spain 
and  Catalonia,  and  into  Sicily ;  he  thought  even  that  the  cara- 
van of  Zingari,  to  which  she  belonged,  had  carried  her  into 
M  255  ^°^-  4 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

the  kingdom  of  Algiers — a  country  situated  in  Achaia,  which 
Achaia  was  adjoining  on  one  side  to  lesser  Albania  and 
Greece,  and  on  the  other  to  the  sea  of  the  Sicilies,  which  is 
the  way  to  Constantinople.  The  Bohemians,  said  Gringoire, 
were  vassals  of  the  King  of  Algeria,  in  his  capacity  of  Chief 
of  the  nation  of  the  White  Moors.  Certain  it  was  that  Esme- 
ralda had  come  into  France  while  yet  very  young  by  way  of 
Hungary.  From  all  these  countries  the  girl  had  brought 
with  her 'fragments  of  fantastic  jargons,  outlandish  songs  and 
ideas  which  made  her  language  almost  as  motley  as  her  half- 
Egyptian,  half-Parisian  costume.  For  the  rest,  the  people 
of  the  quarters  which  she  frequented  loved  her  for  her  gaiety, 
her  kindness,  her  lively  ways,  for  her  dancing  and  her  songs. 
In  all  the  town  she  believed  herself  to  be  hated  by  two  persons 
only,  of  whom  she  often  spoke  with  dread :  the  sachcttc_s>i., 
the  Tour-Roland,  an  evil-tempered  recluse  who  cherished.,an 
unreasoning  malice  against  gipsies,  and  who  cursed  the  poor 
dancer  every  time  she  passed  before  her  window ;  and  a  priest, 
who  never  crossed  her  path  without  hurling  at  her  words  and 
looks  that  terrified  her.  This  last  circumstance  perturbed  the 
Archdeacon  greatly,  though  Gringoire  paid  no  heed  to  the 
fact,  the  two  months  that  had  elapsed  having  sufficed  to 
obliterate  from  the  thoughtless  poet's  mind  the  singular  de- 
tails of  that  evening  on  which  he  had  first  encountered  the 
gipsy  girl,  and  the  circumstance  of  the  Archdeacon's  presence 
on  that  occasion.  For  the  rest,  the  little  dancer  feared  noth- 
ing; she  did  not  tell  fortunes,  and  consequently  was  secure 
from  those  persecutions  for  magic  so  frequently  instituted 
against  the  gipsy  women.  And  then  Gringoire  was  at  least 
a  brother  to  her,  if  he  could  not  be  a  husband.  After  all,  the 
philosopher  endured  very  patiently  this  kind  of  platonic  mar- 
riage. At  all  events  it  insured  him  food  and  a  lodging.  Each 
morning  he  set  out  from  the  thieves'  quarter,  most  frequently 
in  company  with  the  gipsy  girl ;  he  helped  her  to  gain  her 
little  harvest  of  small  coin  in  the  streets ;  and  each  evening 
they  returned  to  the  same  roof,  he  let  her  bolt  herself  into  her 
own  little  chamber,  and  then  slept  the  sleep  of  the  just.  A  very 
agreeable  existence  on  the  whole,  said  he,  and  very  favourable 
to  reflection.  Besides,  in  his  heart  and  inner  conscience,  the 
philosopher  was  not  quite  sure  that  he  was  desperately  in  love 

256 


A  Priest  and  a  Philosopher 

with  the  gipsy.  He  loved  her  goat  almost  as  much.  It  was 
a  charming  beast,  gentle,  intelligent,  not  to  say  intellectual ; 
a  goat  of  parts.  (Nothing  was  commoner  in  the  Middle  Ages 
than  these  trained  animals,  which  created  immense  wonder- 
ment among  the  uninitiated,  but  frequently  brought  their  in- 
structor to  the  stake.)  However,  the  sorceries  of  the  goat  with 
the  gilded  hoofs  were  of  a  very  innocent  nature.  Gringoire 
explained  them  to  the  Archdeacon,  who  appeared  strangely  in- 
terested in  these  particulars.  In  most  cases  it  was  sulBcient  to 
present  the  tambourine  to  the  goat  in  such  or  such  a  manner, 
for  it  to  perform  the  desired  trick.  It  had  been  trained  to 
this  by  its  mistress,  who  had  such  a  singular  talent  for  these 
devices  that  two  months  had  sufficed  her  to  teach  the  goat  to 
compose,  with  movable  letters,  the  word  Phcebiis. 

"'Phoebus!'"  said  the  priest;  "why  'Phoebus'?" 

"  I  do  not  know,"  answered  Gringoire.  "  Perhaps  it  is 
a  word  that  she  thinks  endowed  with  some  magic  and  secret 
virtue.  She  often  murmurs  it  to  herself  when  she  believes 
herself  alone." 

"  Are  you  sure,"  rejoined  Claude,  with  his  searching  look, 
"that  it  is  only  a  word — that  it  is  not  a  name?" 

"  The  name  of  whom  ?  "  said  the  poet. 

"  How  should  I  know  ?  "  said  the  priest. 

"  This  is  what  I  imagine,  messire.  These  Bohemians  are 
something  of  Guebers,  and  worship  the  sun :  hence  this 
Phoebus." 

"  That  does  not  seem  so  evident  to  me  as  it  does  to  you, 
Maitre  Pierre." 

"  After  all,  it's  no  matter  to  me.  Let  her  mumble  her 
Phoebus  to  her  heart's  content.  What  I  know  for  certain  is 
that  Djali  loves  me  already  almost  as  much  as  her  mistress." 

"Who  is  DjaH?" 

"  That  is  the  goat." 

The  Archdeacon  leant  his  chin  on  his  hand  and  seemed 
to  reflect  for  a  moment.  Suddenly  he  turned  brusquely  to 
Gringoire : 

"  And  you  swear  to  me  that  you  have  not  touched  her  ?  " 

"  Whom  ?  "  asked  Gringoire ;  "  the  goat  ?  " 

"  No,  this  woman." 

"  My  wife  ?     I  swear  I  have  not." 

257 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  And  yet  you  are  often  alone  with  her." 

"  Every  night  for  a  full  hour." 

Doni  Claude  frowned.  "  Oh !  oh !  Solus  aim  sola  non 
cogitabuntiir  orare  Pater  Noster."  * 

"  By  my  soul,  I  might  say  Paters  and  Are  Marias  and 
the  Credo  w-ithout  her  paying  any  more  attention  to  me  than 
a  hen  to  a  church." 

"  Swear  to  me,  by  thy  mother's  body,"  said  the  Archdeacon 
vehemently,  "  that  thou  hast  not  so  much  as  touched  that 
woman  with  the  tip  of  thy  finger." 

"  I  will  swear  it  too  by  my  father's  head,  for  the  two  things 
have  more  than  one  connection.  But,  reverend  master,  per- 
mit me  one  question  in  return." 

"  Speak,  sir." 

"  What  does  that  signify  to  you  ?  " 

The  Archdeacon's  pale  face  flushed  like  the  cheek  of  a 
young  girl.  He  was  silent  for  a  moment,  and  then  replied 
with  visible  embarrassment : 

"  Hark  you,  Maitre  Pierre  Gringoire.  You  are  not  yet 
damned,  as  far  as  I  know.  I  am  interested  in  you,  and  wish 
you  well.  Now,  the  slightest  contact  with  that  demon  of  a 
gipsy  girl  will  infallibly  make  you  a  servant  of  Satanas.  You 
know  'tis  always  the  body  that  ruins  the  soul.  Woe  betide 
you  if  you  come  nigh  that  woman !     I  have  spoken." 

"  I  did  try  it  once,"  said  Gringoire,  scratching  his  ear. 
"  That  was  on  the  first  day,  but  I  only  got  stung  for  my  pains." 

"  You  had  that  temerity,  Maitre  Gringoire  ? "  and  the 
priest's  brow  darkened  again. 

"  Another  time,"  continued  the  poet,  with  a  grin,  "  before 
I  went  to  bed,  I  looked  through  her  key-hole,  and  beheld  the 
most  delicious  damsel  in  her  shift  that  ever  made  a  bedstead 
creak  under  her  naked  foot." 

"  To  the  foul  fiend  with  thee ! "  cried  the  priest,  with  a 
look  of  fury ;  and  thrusting  the  amazed  Gringoire  from  him 
by  the  shoulder,  he  plunged  with  long  strides  into  the  impene- 
trable gloom  of  the  Cathedral  arches. 

*  A  man  and  a  woman  alone  together  will  not  think  of  saying  Pater 
Nosters. 


258 


The  Bells 

III 

THE   BELLS 

Since  his  taste  of  the  pillory,  the  neighbours  in  the  vicinity 
of  Notre-Dame  thought  tliey  perceived  a  remarkable  abate- 
ment in  Quasimodo's  rage  for  bell-ringing.  Before  that  time 
the  smallest  excuse  set  the  bells  going — long  morning  chimes 
that  lasted  from  prime  to  compline ;  full  peals  for  a  high 
mass,  full-toned  runs  flashing  up  and  down  the  smaller  bells 
for  a  wedding  or  a  christening,  and  filling  the  air  with  an 
exquisite  network  of  sweet  sound.  The  ancient  minster, 
resonant  and  vibrating  to  her  foundations,  lived  in  a  perpetual 
jubilant  tumult  of  bells.  Some  self-willed  spirit  of  sound 
seemed  to  have  entered  into  her  and  to  be  sending  forth  a 
never-ending  song  from  all  those  brazen  throats.  And  now 
that  spirit  had  departed.  The  Cathedral  seemed  wilfully  to 
maintain  a  sullen  silence.  Festivals  and  burials  had  their 
simple  accompaniment,  plain  and  meagre — what  the  Church 
demanded — not  a  note  beyond.  Of  the  two  voices  that  pro- 
ceed from  a  church — that  of  the  organ  within  and  the  bells 
without — only  the  organ  remained.  It  seemed  as  though 
there  were  no  longer  any  musicians  in  the  belfries.  Never- 
theless, Quasimodo  was  still  there ;  what  had  come  over  him  ? 
Was  it  that  the  shame  and  despair  of  the  pillory  still  lingered 
in  his  heart,  that  his  soul  still  quivered  under  the  lash  of  the 
torturer,  that  his  horror  of  such  treatment  had  swallowed  up 
all  other  feeling  in  him,  even  his  passion  for  the  bells? — or 
was  it  rather  that  Marie  had  a  rival  in  the  heart  of  the  bell- 
ringer  of  Notre-Dame,  and  that  the  great  bell  and  her 
fourteen  sisters  were  being  neglected  for  something  more 
beautiful  ? 

It  happened  that  in  this  year  of  grace  1 482,  Jji^e  Feast  qi 
the^ArmTtnciation  fell  on  Tuesday;  tlTe-^Jtirof  March,  On 
that  day  the  air  was  so  pure  and  light  that  Quasimodo  ielt 
some  return  of  affection  for  his  bells.  He  accordingly  as- 
CCTided  the  northern  tower,  while  the  beadle  below  threw 
wide  the  great  doors  of  the  church,  which  consisted,  at  that 
time,  of  enormous  panels  of  strong  wood,  padded  with  leather, 

259 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

bordered  with  gilded  iron  nails,  and  framed  in  carving  "  very 
skilfully  wrought." 

Arrived  in  the  lofty  cage  of  the  bells,  Quasimodo  gazed 
for  some  time  with  a  sorrowful  shake  of  the  head  at  his  six 
singing  birds,  as  if  he  mourned  over  something  alien  that 
had  come  between  him  and  his  old  loves.  But  when  he  had 
set  them  going,  when  he  felt  the  whole  cluster  of  bells  move 
under  his  hands,  when  he  saw — for  he  could  not  hear  it — 
the  palpitating  octave  ascending  and  descending  in  that 
enormous  diapason,  like  a  bird  fluttering  from  bough  to 
bough — when  the  demon  of  music,  with  his  dazzling  shower 
of  stretti,  trills,  and  arpeggios,  had  taken  possession  of  the 
poor  deaf  creature,  then  he  became  happy  once  more,  he 
forgot  his  former  woes,  and  as  the  weight  lifted  from  his 
heart  his  face  lit  up  with  joy. 

To  and  fro  he  hurried,  clapped  his  hands,  ran  from  one 
rope  to  the  other,  spurring  on  his  six  singers  with  mouth 
and  hands,  like  the  conductor  of  an  orchestra  urging  highly 
trained  musicians. 

"  Come,  Gabrielle,"  said  he,  "  come  now,  pour  all  thy  voice 
into  the  Place,  to-day  is  high  festival.  Thibauld,  bestir  thy- 
self, thou  art  lagging  behind ;  on  with  thee,  art  grown  rusty, 
sluggard  ?  That  is  well — quick !  quick !  let  not  the  clapper 
be  seen.  Make  them  all  deaf  like  me.  That's  the  way,  my 
brave  Thibauld !  Guillaume !  Guillaume !  thou  art  the  big- 
gest, and  Pasquier  is  the  smallest,  and  yet  Pasquier  works 
better  than  thou.  I  warrant  that  those  who  can  hear  would 
say  so  too.  Right  so,  my  Gabrielle !  louder,  louder !  Hey ! 
you  two  up  there,  you  sparrows,  what  are  you  about?  I 
do  not  see  you  make  the  faintest  noise?  What  ails  those 
brazen  beaks  of  yours  that  look  to  be  yawning  when  they 
should  be  singing  ?  Up,  up,  to  your  work !  'Tis  the  Feast 
of  the  Annunciation.  The  sun  shines  bright,  and  we'll  have 
a  merry  peal.  What,  Guillaume !  Out  of  breath,  my  poor 
fat  one!  " 

He  was  entirely  absorbed  in  urging  on  his  bells,  the  whole 
six  of  them  rearing  and  shaking  their  polished  backs  like  a 
noisy  team  of  Spanish  mules  spurred  forward  by  the  cries 
of  the  driver. 

Happening,  however,  to  glance  between  the  large   slate 

260 


Fate 

tiles  which  cover,  up  to  a  certain  height,  the  perpendicular 
walls  of  the  steeple,  he  saw  down  in  the  square  a  fantastically 
dressed  girl  spreading  out  a  carpet,  on  which  a  little  goat 
came  and  took  up  its  position  and  a  group  of  spectators  formed 
a  circle  round.  This  sight  instantly  changed  the  current  of 
his  thoughts,  and  cooled  his  musical  enthusiasm  as  a  breath 
of  cold  air  congeals  a  stream  of  flowing  resin.  He  stood  still, 
turned  his  back  on  the  bells,  and  crouching  down  behind  the 
slate  eaves  fixed  on  the  dancer  that  dreamy,  tender,  and  soft- 
ened look  which  once  already  had  astonished  the  Archdeacon. 
Meanwhile  the  neglected  bells  suddenly  fell  silent,  to  the  great 
disappointment  of  lovers  of  carillons  who  were  listening  in 
all  good  faith  from  the  Pont-au-Change,  and  now  went  away 
as  surprised  and  disgusted  as  a  dog  that  has  been  offered  a 
bone  and  gets  a  stone  instead. 


IV 

FATE 

One  fine  morning  in  this  same  month  of  March — it  was 
Saturday,  the  29th,  St.  Eustache's  Day,  I  think — our  young 
friend,  Jehan  Frollo  of  the  Mill,  discovered,  while  putting  on 
his  breeches,  that  his  purse  gave  forth  no  faintest  chink  of 
coin.  "  Poor  purse !  "  said  he,  drawing  it  out  of  his  pocket, 
"what,  not  a  single  little  parisis?  How  cruelly  have  dice, 
Venus,  and  pots  of  beer  disembowelled  thee !  Behold  thee 
empty,  wrinkled,  and  flabby,  like  the  bosom  of  a  fury!  I 
would  ask  you,  Messer  Cicero  and  Messer  Seneca,  whose  dog- 
eared volumes  I  see  scattered  upon  the  floor,  of  what  use  is 
it  for  me  to  know  better  than  any  master  of  the  Mint  or  a 
Jew  of  the  Pont-au-Changeurs,  that  a  gold  crown  piece  is 
worth  thirty-five  unzain  at  twenty-five  sous  eight  deniers 
parisis  each,  if  I  have  not  a  single  miserable  black  Hard  to 
risk  upon  the  double-six?  Oh,  Consul  Cicero!  this  is  not 
a  calamity  from  which  one  can  extricate  one's  self  by  peri- 
phrases— by  quemadmodtim,  and  verum  enim  vero! " 

261 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

He  completed  his  toilet  dejectedly.  An  idea  occurred  to 
him  as  he  was  lacing  his  boots  which  he  at  first  rejected:  it 
returned,  however,  and  he  put  on  his  vest  WTong  side  out,  a 
sure  sign  of  a  violent  inward  struggle.  At  length  he  cast 
his  cap  vehement!}'  on  the  ground,  and  exclaimed :  "  Be  it  so ! 
the  worst  has  come  to  the  worst — I  shall  go  to  my  brother. 
I  shall  catch  a  sermon,  I  know,  but  also  I  shall  catch  a 
crown  piece." 

He  threw  himself  hastily  into  his  fur-edged  gown,  picked 
up  his  cap,  and  rushed  out  with  an  air  of  desperate  resolve. 

He  turned  down  the  Rue  de  la  Harpe  towards  the  City. 
Passing  the  Rue  de  la  Huchette,  the  odour  wafted  from  those 
splendid  roasting-spits  Avhich  turned  incessantly,  tickled  his 
olfactory  ner\^es,  and  he  cast  a  lustful  eye  into  the  Cyclopean 
kitchen  which  once  extorted  from  the  Franciscan  monk,  Cala- 
tigiron,  the  pathetic  exclamation :  "  Veramcntc,  qucstc  rotisscrie 
sono  cosa  sfupcnda!"  But  Jehan  had  not  the  wherewithal  to 
obtain  a  breakfast,  so  with  a  profound  sigh  he  passed  on 
under  the  gateway  of  the  Petit-Chatelet,  the  enormous  double 
trio  of  massive  towers  guarding  the  entrance  to  the  City. 

He  did  not  even  take  time  to  throw  the  customary  stone 
at  the  dishonoured  statue  of  that  Perinet  Leclerc  who  betrayed 
the  Paris  of  Charles  VI  to  the  English,  a  crime  which  his 
eflfigy,  its  face  all  battered  w'ith  stones  and  stained  with  mud, 
expiated  during  three  centuries  at  the  corner  of  the  tffeels 
de  la  Harpe  and  de  Bussy,  as  on  an  everlasting  pillory. 

Having  crossed  the  Petit-Pont  and  w-alked  down  the  Rue 
Neuve-Sainte-Genevieve,  Jehan  de  Molendino  found  himself 
in  front  of  Notre-Dame.  Then  all  his  indecision  returned, 
and  he  circled  for  some  minutes  round  the  statue  of  "  Mon- 
sieur Legris,"  repeating  to  himself  with  a  tortured  mind : 

"  The  sermon  is  certain,  the  florin  is  doubtful." 

He  stopped  a  beadle  who  was  coming  from  the  cloister. 
"  Where  is  Monsieur  the  Archdeacon  of  Josas  ?  " 

"  In  his  secret  cell  in  the  tower,  I  believe,"  answered  the 
man ;  "  but  I  counsel  you  not  to  disturb  him,  unless  you  come 
from  some  one  such  as  the  Pope  or  the  King  himself." 

Jehan  clapped  his  hands. 

"  Bcdiabic!  what  a  magnificent  chance  for  seeing  the 
famous  magician's  cave !  " 

262 


Fate 

This  decided  him,  and  he  advanced  resolutely  through 
the  Uttle  dark  doorway,  and  began  to  mount  the  spiral  stair- 
case of  Saint-Gilles,  which  leads  to  the  upper  stories  of  the 
tower. 

"  We  shall  see !  "  he  said  as  he  proceeded.  "  By  the  pangs 
of  the  Virgin !  it  must  be  a  curious  place,  this  cell  which  my 
reverend  brother  keeps  so  strictly  concealed.  They  say  he 
lights  up  hell's  own  fires  there  on  which  to  cook  the  phi- 
losopher's stone.  Bedieu!  I  care  no  more  for  the  philoso- 
pher's stone  than  for  a  pebble ;  and  I'd  rather  find  on  his 
furnace  an  omelet  of  Easter  eggs  in  lard,  than  the  biggest 
philosopher's  stone  in  the  world !  " 

Arrived  at  the  gallery  of  the  colonnettes,  he  stopped  a 
moment  to  take  breath  and  to  call  down  ten  million  cart- 
loads of  devils  on  the  interminable  stairs.  He  then  continued 
his  ascent  by  the  narrow  doorway  of  the  northern  tower,  now- 
prohibited  to  the  public.  A  moment  or  two  after  passing  the 
belfry,  he  came  to  a  small  landing  in  a  recess  with  a  low 
Gothic  door  under  the  vaulted  roof,  while  a  loophole  opposite 
in  the  circular  wall  of  the  staircase  enabled  him  to  distinguish 
its  enormous  lock  and  powerful  iron  sheeting.  Any  one  curi- 
ous to  inspect  this  door  at  the  present  day  will  recognise  it 
by  this  legend  inscribed  in  white  letters  on  the  black  wall : 
"  J' adore  Coralie,  182^.  Signe,  Ugene."  (This  signe  is  in- 
cluded in  the  inscription.) 

"  Whew !  "  said  the  scholar ;  "  this  must  be  it." 

The  key  was  in  the  lock,  the  door  slightly  ajar;  he  gently 
pushed  it  open  and  poked  his  head  round  it. 

The  reader  is  undoubtedly  acquainted  with  the  works  of 
Rembrandt — the  Shakespeare  of  painting.  Among  the  many 
wonderful  engravings  there  is  one  etching  in  particular  repre- 
senting, as  is  supposed.  Doctor  Faustus,  which  it  is  impossible 
to  contemplate  without  measureless  admiration.  There  is  a 
gloomy  chamber;  in  the  middle  stands  a  table  loaded  with 
mysterious  and  repulsive  objects — death's  heads,  spheres, 
alembics,  compasses,  parchments  covered  with  hieroglyphics. 
Behind  this  table,  which  hides  the  lower  part  of  him,  stands 
the  Doctor  wrapped  in  a  wide  gown,  his  head  covered  by  a 
fur  cap  reaching  to  his  eyebrows.  He  has  partly  risen  from 
his  immense  arm-chair,  his  clenched  fists  are  leaning  on  the 

263 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

table,  while  he  gazes  in  curiosity  and  terror  at  a  luminous 
circle  of  magic  letters  shining  on  the  wall  in  the  background 
like  the  solar  spectrum  in  a  camera  obscura.  This  cabalistic 
sun  seems  actually  to  scintillate,  and  fills  the  dim  cell  with  its 
mysterious  radiance.     It  is  horrible  and  yet  beautiful. 

Something  very  similar  to  Faust's  study  presented  itself 
to  Jehan's  view  as  he  ventured  his  head  through  the  half-open 
door.  Here,  too,  was  a  sombre,  dimly  lighted  cell,  a  huge 
arm-chair,  and  a  large  table,  compasses,  alembics,  skeletons 
of  animals  hanging  from  the  ceiling,  a  celestial  globe  rolling 
on  the  floor,  glass  phials  full  of  quivering  gold-leaf,  skulls 
lying  on  sheets  of  vellum  covered  with  figures  and  written 
characters,  thick  manuscripts  open  and  piled  one  upon  another 
regardless  of  the  creased  corners  of  the  parchment ;  in  short, 
all  the  rubbish  of  science — dust  and  cobwebs  covering  the 
whole  heap.  But  there  was  no  circle  of  luminous  letters,  no 
doctor  contemplating  in  ecstasy  the  flamboyant  vision  as  an 
eagle  gazes  at  the  sun. 

Nevertheless  the  cell  was  not  empty.  A  man  was  seated 
in  the  arm-chair,  leaning  over  the  table.  Jehan  could  see 
nothing  but  his  broad  shoulders  and  the  back  of  his  head ; 
but  he  had  no  difficulty  in  recognising  that  bald  head,  which 
nature  seemed  to  have  provided  with  a  permanent  tonsure, 
as  if  to  mark  by  this  external  sign  the  irresistible  clerical 
vocation  of  the  Archdeacon. 

Thus  Jehan  recognised  his  brother;  but  the  door  had  been 
opened  so  gently  that  Dom  Claude  was  unaware  of  his  pres- 
ence. The  prying  little  scholar  availed  himself  of  this  oppor- 
tunity to  examine  the  cell  for  a  few  minutes  at  his  ease.  A 
large  furnace,  which  he  had  not  remarked  before,  was  to  the 
left  of  the  arm-chair  under  the  narrow  window.  The  ray  of 
light  that  penetrated  through  this  opening  traversed  the  cir- 
cular web  of  a  spider,  who  had  tastefully  woven  her  delicate 
rosace  in  the  pointed  arch  of  the  window  and  now  sat  motion- 
less in  the  centre  of  this  wheel  of  lace.  On  the  furnace  was 
a  disordered  accumulation  of  vessels  of  every  description, 
stone  bottles,  glass  retorts,  and  bundles  of  charcoal.  Jehan 
observed  with  a  sigh  that  there  was  not  a  single  cooking 
utensil. 

In  any  case  there  was  no  fire  in  the  furnace,  nor  did 

264 


Fate 

any  appear  to  have  been  lighted  there  for  a  long-  time.  A 
glass  mask  which  Jehan  noticed  among  the  alchemistic  imple- 
ments, used  doubtless  to  protect  the  archdeacon's  face  when 
he  was  engaged  in  compounding  some  deadly  substance,  lay 
forgotten  in  a  corner,  thick  with  dust.  Beside  it  lay  a  pair 
of  bellows  equally  dusty,  the  upper  side  of  which  bore  in 
letters  of  copper  the  motto :  "  Spiro,  spero."  * 

Following  the  favourite  custom  of  the  hermetics,  the  walls 
were  inscribed  with  many  legends  of  this  description ;  some 
traced  in  ink,  others  engraved  with  a  metal  point ;  Gothic 
characters,  Hebrew,  Greek  and  Roman,  pell-mell ;  inscribed 
at  random,  overlapping  each  other,  the  more  recent  effacing 
the  earlier  ones,  and  all  interlacing  and  mingled  like  the 
branches  of  a  thicket  or  the  pikes  in  a  tnelee.  And,  in  truth, 
it  was  a  confused  fray  between  all  the  philosophies,  all  the 
schemes,  the  wisdom  of  the  human  mind.  Here  and  there 
one  shone  among  the  others  like  a  banner  among  the  lance- 
heads,  but  for  the  most  part  they  consisted  of  some  brief  Latin 
or  Greek  sentence,  so  much  in  favour  in  the  Middle  Ages, 
such  as :  "  Undef  Indef — Homo  homini  monstrmn. — Astra, 
castra. — Nomen,  numen. — Mcya  fii/SXiov,  ixiya.  kukov — Sapcre 
aude. — Flat  nhi  vult,"  etc.f  Or  sometimes  a  word  devoid  of 
all  meaning  as  'Avayxo<^ayia,  which  perhaps  concealed  some 
bitter  allusion  to  the  rules  of  the  cloister ;  sometimes  a  simple 
maxim  of  monastic  discipline  set  forth  in  a  correct  hexameter : 
"  Coelestem  Dominum,  tcrrestrem  dicite  domniim."  |  Here  and 
there,  too,  were  obscure  Hebrew  passages,  of  which  Jehan, 
whose  Greek  was  already  of  the  feeblest,  understood  nothing 
at  all;  and  the  whole  crossed  and  recrossed  in  all  directions 
with  stars  and  triangles,  human  and  animal  figures,  till  the 
wall  of  the  cell  looked  like  a  sheet  of  paper  over  which  a 
monkey  has  dragged  a  pen  full  of  ink. 

Altogether  the  general  aspect  of  the  study  was  one  of 
complete  neglect  and  decay  ;  and  the  shocking  condition  of 
the  implements  led  inevitably  to  the  conclusion   that   their 

*  Blow,  hope. 

f  Whence,  whither? — Man  is  a  monster  unto  men.-  -The  stars,  a  for- 
tress.— The  name,  a  wonder. — A  great  book,  a  great  t  'il. — Dare  to  be 
wise. — It  bloweth  where  it  listeth. 

J  Account  the  Lord  of  heaven  thy  ruler  upon  earth. 

265 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

owner  had  long  been  diverted  from  his  labours  by  pursuits 
of  some  other  kind. 

'Jlie  said  owner,  meanwhile,  bending-  over  a  vast  manu- 
script adorned  with  bizarre  paintings,  appeared  to  be  tor- 
mented by  some  idea  which  incessantly  interrupted  his  medita- 
tions. So  at  least  jehan  surmised  as  he  listened  to  his  mus- 
ing aloud,  with  the  intermittent  pauses  of  a  person  talking  in 
his  dreams. 

"  Yes,"  he  exclaimed,  "  Manou  said  it,  and  Zoroaster 
taught  the  same !  the  sun  is  born  of  fire,  the  moon  of  the 
sun.  Fire  is  the  soul  of  the  Great  All,  its  elementar}^  atoms 
are  dififused  and  constantly  flowing  by  an  infinity  of  currents 
throughout  the  universe.  At  the  points  where  these  currents 
cross  each  other  in  the  heavens,  they  produce  light ;  at  their 
points  of  intersection  in  the  earth,  they  produce  gold.  Light 
— gold ;  it  is  the  same  thing — fire  in  its  concrete  state  ;  merely 
flre^difiference  between~tTie~  visible  and  the  palpable,  the  fluid 
and  the  solid  in  the  same  substance,  between  vapour  and  ice 
— nothing  more.  This  is  no  dream ;  it  is  the  universal  law  of 
Nature.  But  how  to  extract  from  science  the  secret  of  this 
universal  law?  What!  this  light  that  bathes  my  hand  is  gold! 
All  that  is  necessary  is  to  condense  by  a  certain  law  these 
same  atoms  dilated  by  certain  other  laws !  Yes ;  but  how  ? 
Some  have  thought  of  bur}-ing  a  ray  of  sunshine.  Averroes 
— yes,  it  was  Averroes — buried  one  under  the  first  pillar 
to  the  left  of  the  sanctuary  of  the  Koran,  in  the  great  Mosque 
of  Cordova ;  but  the  vault  w^as  not  to  be  opened  to  see  if 
the  operation  was  successful  under  eight  thousand  years." 

"  Diablc! "  said  Jehan  to  himself,  "  rather  a  long  time  to 
wait  for  a  florin !  " 

"  Others  have  thought,"  continued  the  Archdeacon  mus- 
ingly, "  that  it  were  better  to  experiment  upon  a  ray  from 
Sirius.  But  it  is  difficult  to  obtain  this  ray  pure,  on  account 
of  the  simultaneous  presence  of  other  stars  whose  rays  mingle 
Vvith  it.  Flaniel  .onsiders  it  simpler  to  operate  with  terres- 
trial fire.  Flamel !  there's  predestination  in  the  very  name ! 
Flamuia!  yes,  .ire — that  is  all.  The  diamond  exists  already 
in  the  charcoal,  gold  in  fire —  But  how  to  extract  it?  Magis- 
tri  affirms  t'lat  there  are  certain  female  names  which  possess 
so  sweet  aud  mysterious  a  charm,  that  it  suffices  merely  to 

266 


Fate 

pronounce  them  during  the  operation.  L^t  us  see  what 
]\Ianou  says  on  the  subject :  *  Where  women  are  held  in  hon- 
our, the  gods  are  well  pleased :  where  they  are  despised,  it  is 
useless  to  pray  to  God,  The  mouth  of  a  woman  is  constantly 
pure ;  it  is  as  a  running  stream,  as  a  ray  of  sunshine.  The 
namejoLa..w.Qinaii.shQuLd  be  pleasing,  mrelodious,  and  give  food 
to  the  imagination — should  end  in  long  vowels,  and  sound  like 
ajbenedictipn.'  „  YeSj  yes,  the  sage  is  right ;  for  example,  Maria 
— :;;SQphia — Esmeral—  .  Damnation  !     Ever  that  thought !  " 

And  he  closed  the  book  with  a  violent  slam. 

He  passed  his  hand  over  his  brow  as  if  to  chase  away 
the  thought  that  haunted  him.  Then  taking  from  the  table 
a  nail  and  a  small  hammer,  the  handle  of  which  bore  strange, 
painted,  cabalistic  figures — 

"  For  some  time,"  said  he  with  a  bitter  smile,  "  I  have 
failed  in  all  my  experiments.  A  fixed  idea  possesses  me,  and 
tortures  my  brain  like  the  presence  of  a  fiery  stigma.  I  have 
not  even  succeeded  in  discovering  the  secret  of  Cassiodorus, 
whose  lamp  burned  without  wick  or  oil.  Surely  a  simple 
matter  enough !  " 

"  The  devil  it  is ! "  muttered  Jehan  between  his  teeth. 

"  One  miserable  thought,  then,"  continued  the  priest,  "  suf- 
fices to  sap  a  man's  will  and  render  him  feeble-minded.  Oh, 
how  Claude  Pernelle  would  mock  at  me — she  who  could  not 
for  one  moment  divert  Nicholas  Flamel  from  the  pursuit  of 
his  great  work !  What !  I  hold  in  my  hand  the  magic  hammer 
of  Zechieles!  At  every  blow  which,  from  the  depths  of  his 
cell,  the  redoubtable  rabbi  struck  with  this  hammer  upon 
this  nail  that  one  among  his  enemies  whom  he  had  con- 
demned would,  even  were  he  two  thousand  leagues  away, 
sink  an  arm's  length  into  the  earth  which  swallowed  him  up. 
The  King  of  France  himself,  for  having  one  night  inad- 
vertently struck  against  the  door  of  the  magician,  sank  up 
to  his  knees  in  his  own  pavement  of  Paris.  This  happened 
not  three  centuries  ago.  Well,  I  have  the  hammer  and  the 
nail,  and  yet  these  implements  are  no  more  formidable  in 
my  hands  than  a  hammer  in  the  hand  of  a  smith.  And  yet 
all  that  is  wanting  is  the  magic  word  which  Zechieles  pro- 
nounced as  he  struck  upon  the  nail." 

"  A  mere  trifle !  "  thought  Jehan. 

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Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  Come,  let  us  try,"  resumed  the  Archdeacon  eagerly.  "  If 
I  succeed,  I  shall  see  the  blue  spark  fly  from  the  head  of 
the  nail.  Emen-Heten !  Emen-Heten !  That  ns  not  it — 
Sigeani!  Sigeani !  May  this  nail  open  the  grave  for  whomso- 
ever bears  the  nameoTThoebus'P^A' cur^e  upon  it  again! 
Forever  that  same  thought !  " 

He  threw  away  the  hammer  angrily.  He  then  sank  so 
low  in  his  arm-chair  and  over  the  table  that  Jehan  lost  sight 
of  him.  For  some  minutes  he  could  see  nothing  but  a  hand 
clenched  convulsively  on  a  book.  Suddenly  Dom  Claude 
arose,  took  a  pair  of  compasses,  and  in  silence  engraved  upon 
the  wall  in  capitals  the  Greek  word : 

'ANAFKH. 

"  My  brother's  a  fool,"  said  Jehan  to  himself ;  "  it  would 
have  been  much  simpler  to  write  Fatum.  Everybody  is  not 
obliged  to  know  Greek." 

The  Archdeacon  reseated  himself  in  his  chair  and  clasped 
his  forehead  between  his  two  hands,  like  a  sick  person  whose 
head  is  heavy  and  burning. 

i.  The  scholar  watched  his  brother  with  surprise.  He  had 
^o  conception — he  who  always  wore  his  heart  upon  his  sleeve, 
who  observed  no  laws  but  the  good  old  laws  of  nature,  w'ho 
allowed  his  passions  to„:9_Qw  according  to  their  natural  tenden- 
cies, and  in  whom  the  4ake_of  strong  emotions  was  always 
dry,  so  many  fresh  channels  did  he  open  for  it  daily — he  had 
no  conception  with  what  ijjjcy.-that  .se^  of  human  passions 
ferments  and  boils  when  it  is  refused  all  egress ;  how  it  gathers 
strength,  swells,  and  overflows ;  how  it  wears  away  the  heart ; 
how  it  breaks  f orth_jrrTnward_sp_bs_  and  stifled  convulsions, 

/^     until  it  has  rent  its  banks  and  overflowed  its  bed.     The  aus- 
tere and  icy  exterioT^ofClaude  "FrolIoT  that  cold  surface  of 

r^      rugged  and  inaccessible  virtue,  had  always  deceived  Jehan. 

>'     The   light-hearted   scholar   had   never   dreamed   of  the   lava, 
deep,  boiling,  furious,  beneath  the  snow  of  .^tna.  ~ 

We  do  not  know  whether  any  su33en  perception  of  this 
kind  crossed  Jehan's  mind ;  but,  scatter-brained  as  he  was, 
he  understood  that  he  had  witnessed  something  he  ought 
never  to  have  seen ;  that  he  had  surprised  the  soul  of  his 
elder  brother  in  one  of  its  most   secret  attitudes,   and  that 

268 


Fate 

Claude  must  not  discover  it.  Perceiving  that  the  Archdeacon 
had  fallen  back  into  his  previous  immobility,  he  withdrew  his 
head  very  softly  and  made  a  slight  shuffling  of  feet  behind 
the  door,  as  of  some  one  approaching  and  giving  warning 
of  the  fact. 

"  Come  in !  "  cried  the  Archdeacon,  from  within  his  cell. 
"  I  was  expecting  you,  and  left  the  key  in  the  door  on  pur- 
pose.    Come  in,  Maitre  Jacques  !  " 

The  scholar  entered  boldly.  The  Archdeacon  much  em- 
barrassed by  such  a  visitor  in  this  particular  place  started 
violently  in  his  arm-chair. 

"  What !  it  is  you,  Jehan  ?  " 

"  A  J  at  any  rate,"  said  the  scholar,  with  his  rosy,  smiling, 
impudent  face. 

The  countenance  of  Dom  Claude  had  resumed  its  severe 
expression.     "  What  are  you  doing  here  ?  " 

"  Brother,"  answered  the  scholar,  endeavouring  to  assume 
a  sober,  downcast,  and  modest  demeanour,  and  twisting  his 
cap  in  his  hands  with  an  appearance  of  artlessness,  "  I  have 
come  to  beg  of  you," 

"What?" 

"  A  moral  lesson  of  which  I  have  great  need,"  he  had  not 
the  courage  to  add — "  and  a  little  money  of  which  my  need 
is  still  greater."  The  last  half  of  his  sentence  remained  un- 
spoken. 

"  Sir,"  said  the  Archdeacon  coldly,  "  I  am  greatly  dis- 
pleased with  you." 

"  Alas !  "  sighed  the  scholar. 

Dom  Claude  described  a  quarter  of  a  circle  with  his  chair, 
and  regarded  Jehan  sternly.     "  I  am  very  glad  to  see  you." 

This  was  a  formidable  exordium.  Jehan  prepared  for  a 
sharp  encounter. 

"  Jehan,  every  day  they  bring  me  complaints  of  you. 
What  is  this  about  a  scuffle  in  which  you  belaboured  a  cer- 
tain little  vicomte,  Albert  de  Ramonchamp?" 

"  Oh,"  said  Jehan,  "  a  mere  trifle !  An  ill-conditioned 
page,  who  amused  himself  with  splashing  the  scholars  by 
galloping  his  horse  through  the  mud." 

"  And  what  is  this  about  Mahiet  Fargel,  whose  gown  you 
have  torn?    '  Tunicam  dechiraverunt,'  says  the  charge." 

269 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 


<< 


Pah !  a  shabby  Montaigu  cape.     What's  there  to  make 
such  a  coil  about  ?  " 

"  The  complaint  says  tunicam,  not  cappettam.  Do  you 
understand  Latin  ?  " 

Jehan  did  not  reply. 

"  Yes,"  went  on  the  priest  shaking  his  head,  "  this  is  what 
study  and  letters  have  come  to  now !  The  Latin  tongue  is 
scarcely  understood,  Syriac  unknown,  the  Greek  so  abhorred 
that  it  is  not  accounted  ignorance  in  the  most  learned  to  miss 
over  a  Greek  word  when  reading,  and  to  say,  Grcrcum  est 
non  legitur." 

The  scholar  raised  his  eyes  boldly.  "  Brother,  shall  I  tell 
you  in  good  French  the  meaning  of  that  Greek  word  over 
there  upon  the  wall  ?  " 

"Which  word?" 

"•ANArKH."  ^  -^^^^ 

A  faint  flush  crept  into  the  parchment  cheeks  of  the  Arch- 
deacon, like  a  puflf  of  smoke  giving  warning  of  the  unseen 
commotions  of  a  volcano.     The  scholar  hardly  noted  it. 

"  Well,  Jehan,"  faltered  the  elder  brother  with  an  effort, 
"  what  does  the  word  mean  ?  " 

"  Fatality." 

Dom  Claude  grew  pale  again,  and  the  scholar  went  on 
heedlessly : 

"  And  the  word  underneath  it,  inscribed  by  the  same  hand, 
'Avayvcia,  signifies  '  impurity.'    You  see,  we  know  our  Greek." 

The  Archdeacon  was  silent.  This  lesson  in  Greek  had  set 
him  musing. 

Little  Jehan,  who  had  all  the  cunning  of  a  spoilt  child, 
judged  the  moment  favourable  for  hazarding  his  request. 
Adopting,  therefore,  his  most  insinuating  tones,  he  began : 

"  Do  you  hate  me  so  much,  good  brother,  as  to  look  thus 
grim  on  account  of  a  few  poor  scufflings  and  blows  dealt  all 
in  fair  fight  with  a  pack  of  boys  and  young  monkeys — 
quibusdam  marmosctis?  You  see,  good  brother  Claude,  we 
know  our  Latin." 

But  this  caressing  hypocrisy  failed  in  its  customary  effect 
on  the  severe  elder  brother.  Cerberus  would  not  take  the 
honeyed  sop.  Not  a  furrow  in  the  Archdeacon's  brow  was 
smoothed.     "  What  are  you  aiming  at?  "  he  asked  dryly. 

270 


Fate 

"Well,  then,  to  be  plain,  it  is  this,"  answered  Jehan  stoutly, 
"  I  want  money." 

At  this  piece  of  effrontery  the  Archdeacon  at  once  be- 
came the  school-master,  the  stern  parent, 

"  You  are  aware,  Monsieur  Jehan,  that  our  fief  of  Tire- 
chappe,  counting  together  both  the  ground  rents  and  the 
rents  of  the  twenty-one  houses,  only  brings  in  twenty-nine 
livres,  eleven  sous,  six  deniers  parisis.  That  is  half  as  much 
again  as  in  the  time  of  the  brothers  Paclet,  but  it  is  not 
much." 

"  I  want  some  money,"  repeated  Jehan  stolidly. 

"  You  know  that  the  Ecclesiastical  Court  decided  that  our 
twenty-one  houses  were  held  in  full  fee  of  the  bishopric,  and 
that  we  could  only  redeem  this  tribute  by  paying  to  his  Rev- 
erence the  Bishop  two  marks  silver  gilt  of  the  value  of  six 
livres  parisis.  Now,  I  have  not  yet  been  able  to  collect  these 
two  marks,  and  you  know  it." 

"  I  know  that  I  want  money,"  repeated  Jehan  for  the 
third  time. 

"  And  what  do  you  want  it  for  ?  " 

This  question  brought  a  ray  of  hope  to  Jehan's  eyes.  He 
assumed  his  coaxing,  demure  air  once  more. 

"  Look  you,  dear  brother  Claude,  I  do  not  come  to  you 
Avith  any  bad  intent.  I  do  not  purpose  to  squander  your 
money  in  a  tavern,  or  ruffle  it  through  the  streets  of  Paris 
in  gold  brocade  and  with  my  lackey  behind  me — cum  meo 
laqiiasio.     No,  brother,  'tis  for  a  good  work." 

"  What  good  work  ?  "  asked  Claude,  somewhat  surprised. 

"  Why,  two  of  my  friends  wish  to  purchase  some  swad- 
dling-clothes for  the  infant  of  a  poor  widow  of  the  Haudriette 
Convent.  'Tis  a  charity.  It  will  cost  three  florins,  and  I 
would  like  to  add  my  contribution." 

"  Who  are  your  two  friends?  " 

"  Pierre.  I'Assommeur  *  and  Eapliste  Croque-Oison."  f 

*'^Humph!"  said  the  Archdeacon;  "these  are  names  that 
go  as  fitly  with  a  good  work  as  a  bombard  upon  a  high 
altar." 

It  cannot  be  denied  that  Jehan  had  not  been  happy  in 

*  The  slaughterer.  f  The  rook. 

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Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

the  choice  of  names  for  his  two  friends.  He  felt  it  when  it 
was  too  late. 

"  Besides,"  continued  the  shrewd  Claude,  "  what  sort  of 
swaddling-clothes  are  they  which  cost  three  florins — and  for 
the  infant  of  a  Haudriette?  Since  when,  pray,  do  the  Hau- 
driette  widows  have  babes  in  swaddling-clothes  ?  " 

Jehan  broke  the  ice  definitely. 

"  Well,  then,  I  want  some  money  to  go  and  see  Isabeau 
la  Thierrye  this  evening  at  the  Val-d'Amour !  " 

"  Vile  profligate !  "  cried  the  priest. 

"  'Avayva'a,"  retorted  Jchan. 

This  quotation,  selected  by  the  boy  no  doubt  in  sheer 
malice  from  those  on  the  wall  of  the  cell,  produced  a  singular 
efifect  upon  the  priest.  He  bit  his  lip,  and  his  anger  was 
lost  in  his  confusion. 

"  Get  you  gone ! "  said  he  to  Jehan ;  "  I  am  expecting 
some  one." 

The  scholar  made  one  last  attempt. 

"  Brother  Claude,  give  me  at  least  one  little  parisis  to 
get  some  food." 

"  How  far  have  you  advanced  in  the  Decretals  of  Gra- 
tian  ?  "  asked  Dom  Claude. 

"  I  have  lost  my  note-books." 

"Where  are  you  in  Latin  classics?" 

"  Somebody  stole  my  copy  of  Horatius." 

"  And  where  in  Aristotle  ?  " 

"  Faith,  brother !  what  Father  of  the  Church  is  it  who  says 
that  the  errors  of  heretics  have  ever  found  shelter  among  the 
thickets  of  Aristotle's  metaphysics?  A  straw  for  Aristotle! 
I  will  never  mangle  my  religion  on  his  metaphysics." 

"  Young  man,"  replied  the  Archdeacon,  "  at  the  last  entry 
of  the  King  into  Paris,  there  was  a  gentleman  named  Philippe 
de  Comines,  who  displayed  embroidered  on  his  saddle-cloth 
this  motto — which  I  counsel  you  to  ponder  well :  '  Qui  non 
laborat  non  mandncct.'  "  * 

The  scholar  stood  a  moment  silent,  his  eyes  bent  on  the 
ground,  his  countenance  chagrined.  Suddenly  he  turned 
towards  Claude  with  the  quick  motion  of  a  wagtail. 

*  He  who  will  not  work  shall  not  eat. 
272 


Fate 

"  So,  good  brother,  you  refuse  me  even  a  sou  to  buy  a 
crust  of  bread?  " 

"  Qui  non  laborat  non  manducet.*' 

At  this  inflexible  answer  Jehan  buried  his  face  in  his 
hands,  Hke  a  woman  sobbing,  and  cried  in  a  voice  of  despair : 

"  OtototototoI  !  " 

"What  do  you  mean  by  this,  sir?"  demanded  Claude, 
taken  aback  at  this  freak. 

"  Well,  what  ?  "  said  the  scholar,  raising  a  pair  of  impudent 
eyes  into  which  he  had  been  thrusting  his  fists  to  make  them 
appear  red  with  tears ;  "  it's  Greek !  it  is  an  anapaest  of  ^schy- 
1ns  admirably  expressive  of  grief."  And  he  burst  into  a  fit 
of  laughter  so  infectious  and  uncontrolled  that  the  Archdeacon 
could  not  refrain  from  smiling.  After  all,  it  was  Claude's 
own  fault:  why  had  he  so  spoiled  the  lad? 

"  Oh,  dear  brother  Claude,"  Jehan  went  on,  emboldened 
by  this  smile,  "  look  at  my  broken  shoes.  Is  there  a  more 
tragic  buskin  in  the  world  than  a  boot  that  gapes  thus  and 
puts  out  its  tongue  ?  " 

The  Archdeacon  had  promptly  resumed  his  former  severity. 

"  I  will  send  you  new  shoes,  but  no  money." 

"  Only  one  little  parisis,  brother,"  persisted  the  suppliant 
Jehan.  "  I  will  learn  Gratian  by  heart,  I  am  perfectly  ready 
to  believe  in  God,  I  will  be  a  very  Pythagoras  of  science  and 
virtue.  But  one  little  parisis,  for  pity's  sake !  Would  you 
have  me  devoured  by  famine,  which  stands  staring  me  in  the 
face  with  open  maw,  blacker,  deeper,  more  noisome  than 
Tartarus  or  a  monk's  nose ?" 

Dom  Claude  shook  his  head — "  Qui  non  laborat " 

Jehan  did  not  let  him  finish.  "  Well !  "  he  cried,  *'  to  the 
devil,  then  !  Huzza !  I'll  live  in  the  taverns,  I'll  fight,  I'll  break 
heads  and  wine  cups,  I'll  visit  the  lasses  and  go  to  the  devil !  " 

And  so  saying,  he  flung  his  cap  against  the  wall  and 
snapped  his  fingers  like  castanets. 

The  Archdeacon  regarded  him  gravely.  "  Jehan,"  said 
he,  "  you  have  no  soul." 

"  In  that  case,  according  to  Epicurus,  I  lack  an  unknown 
something  made  of  another  something  without  a  name." 

"  Jehan,  you  must  think  seriously  of  amending  your  ways." 

"Ah  ga!"  cried  the  scholar,  looking  from  his  brother  to 

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Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

the  alembics  on  the  furnaces,  "  ever>'thing  seems  awry  here 
■ — tempers  as  jvell  as  bottles !  " 

"  Jehan,  you  are  on  a  slippery  downward  path.  Know  you 
whither  you  are  going  ?  " 

"  To  the  tavern,"  answered  Jehan  promptly. 

"  The  tavern  leads  to  the  pillory." 

"  'Tis  as  good  a  lantern  as  any  other,  and  one,  may-be,  with 
which  Diogenes  would  have  found  his  man." 

"  The  pillory  leads  to  the  gibbet." 

"  The  gibbet  is  a  balance  with  a  man  at  one  end  and  the 
whole  world  at  the  other.     It  is  good  to  be  the  man." 

"  The  gibbet  leads  to  hell." 

"  That's  a  good  big  fire." 

"  Jehan,  Jehan !  all  this  will  have  a  bad  end ! " 

"  It  will  have  had  a  good  beginning." 

At  this  moment  there  was  a  sound  of  footsteps  on  the 
stairs. 

"  Silence !  "  said  the  Archdeacon,  his  finger  on  his  lips, 
"  here  is  Maitre  Jacques.  Hark  you,  Jehan,"  he  added  in  a 
low  voice,  "  beware  of  ever  breathing  a  word  of  what  you 
have  seen  or  heard  here.  Hide  yourself  quickly  under  this 
furnace,  and  do  not  make  a  sound." 

The  scholar  was  creeping  under  the  furnace  when  a  happy 
thought  struck  him. 

"  Brother  Claude,  a  florin  for  keeping  still ! " 

"  Silence  !     I  promise  it  you  !  " 

"  No,  give  it  me  now." 

"  Take  it,  then !  "  said  the  Archdeacon,  flinging  him  his 
whole  pouch  angrily.  Jehan  crept  under  the  furnace,  and  the 
door  opened. 


V 

THE   TWO    MEN    IN    BLACK 


The  person  who  entered  wore  a  black  gown  and  a  morose 
air.  What  at  the  first  glance  struck  our  friend  Jehan  (who, 
as  may  be  supposed,  so  placed  himself  in  his  retreat  as  to 

274 


The  Two  Men  in  Black 

be  able  to  see  and  hear  all  at  his  ease)  was  the  utter  dejection 
manifest  both  in  the  garments  and  the  countenance  of  the 
new-comer.  There  was,  however,  a  certain  meekness  dif- 
fused over  that  face ;  but  it  was  the  meekness  of  a  cat  or  of  a 
judge — a  hypocritical  gentleness.  He  was  very  gray  and 
wrinkled,  about  sixty,  with  blinking  eye-lids,  white  eye-brows, 
a  pendulous  lip,  and  large  hands.  When  Jehan  saw  that  it 
was  nothing  more — that  is  to  say,  merely  some  physician  or 
magistrate,  and  that  the  man's  nose  was  a  long  way  from 
his  mouth,  a  sure  sign  of  stupidity — he  ensconced  himself 
deeper  in  his  hole,  desperate  at  being  forced  to  pass  an 
indefinite  time  in  such  an  uncomfortable  posture  and  such 
dull  company. 

The  Archdeacon  had  not  even  risen  to  greet  this  person. 
He  motioned  him  to  a  stool  near  the  door,  and  after  a  few 
moments'  silence,  during  which  he  seemed  to  be  pursuing 
some  previous  meditation,  he  remarked  in  a  patronizing  tone : 

"  Good-day  to  you,  Maitre  Jacques." 

"  And  to  you  greeting,  Maitre,"  responded  the  man  in 
black. 

There  was  between  these  two  greetings — the  ofifhand 
Maitre  Jacques  of  the  one,  and  the  obsequiour  Maitre  of  the 
other — the  difference  between  ''  Sir  "  and  "  Your  Lordship," 
of  donme  and  doniine.  It  was  evidently  the  meeting  between 
master  and  disciple. 

"  Well,"  said  the  Archdeacon,  after  another  interval  of 
silence  which  Maitre  Jacques  took  care  not  to  break,  "  will 
you  succeed?  " 

"  Alas,  master,"  replied  the  other  with  a  mournful  smile, 
"  I  use  the  bellows  assiduously — cinders  and  to  spare — but 
not  a  spark  of  gold." 

Dom  Claude  made  a  gesture  of  impatience.  "  That  is  not 
what  I  allude  to,  Maitre  Jacques  Charmolue,  but  to  the  charge 
against  your  sorcerer — Marc  Cenaine,  you  call  him,  I  think 
— butler  to  the  Court  of  Accounts.  Did  he  confess  his  wiz- 
ardry when  you  put  him  to  the  question  ?  " 

"  Alas,  no,"  replied  Maitre  Jacques,  with  his  deprecating 
smile.  "  We  have  not  that  consolation.  The  man  is  a  per- 
fect stone.  We  might  boil  him  in  the  pig-market,  and  we 
should  get  no  word  out  of  him.     However,  we  spare  no  pains 

275 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

to  arrive  at  the  truth.  Every  joint  is  already  dislocated  on 
the  rack ;  we  have  put  all  our  irons  in  the  fire,  as  the  old 
comic  writer  Plautus  has  it : 

'  Advorsum  stimulos,  laminas,  crucesque,  compeclesque, 
Nervos,  catenas,  carceres,  numellas,  pedicas,  boias.' 

But  all  to  no  purpose.  That  man  is  terrible.  'Tis  love's 
labour  lost !  " 

"  You  have  found  nothing  fresh  in  his  house  ?  " 

"  Oh,  yes,"  said  Maitre  Jacques,  fumbling  in  his  pouch, 
"  this  parchment.  There  are  words  on  it  that  we  do  not 
understand.  And  yet,  monsieur,  the  criminal  advocate,  Phi- 
lippe Lheulier,  knows  a  little  Hebrew,  which  he  learned  in  an 
affair  with  the  Jews  of  the  Rue  Kantersten,  at  Brussels."  So 
saying,  Maitre  Jacques  unrolled  a  parchment. 

"  Give  it  to  me,"  said  the  Archdeacon.  "  Magic  pure  and 
simple,  Maitre  Jacques !  "  he  cried,  as  he  cast  his  eyes  over 
the  scroll.  "  '  Emen-Hetan! '  that  is  the  cry  of  the  ghouls  when 
they  arrive  at  the  watches'  Sabbath,  '  Per  ipsum,  et  cum  ipso, 
et  in  ipso!'  that  is  the  conjuration  which  rebinds  the  devil 
in  hell.  '  Hax,  pax,  max! '  that  refers  to  medicine — a  spell 
against  the  bite  of  a  mad  dog.  Maitre  Jacques,  you  are 
King's  attorney  in  the  Ecclesiastical  Court ;  this  parchment 
is  an  abomination." 

"  We  will  put  him  again  to  the  question.  Then  here  is 
something  else,"  added  Maitre  Jacques,  fumbling  once  more 
in  his  bag,  "  which  we  found  at  Marc  Cenaine's." 

It  was  a  vessel  of  the  same  family  as  those  which  en- 
cumbered the  furnace  of  Dom  Claude.  "  Ah,"  said  the  Arch- 
deacon, "  an  alchemist's  crucible." 

"  I  don't  mind  confessing  to  you,"  Maitre  Jacques  went  on, 
with  his  timid  and  constrained  smile,  "  that  I  have  tried  it  over 
the  furnace,  but  succeeded  no  better  than  with  my  own." 

The  Archdeacon  examined  the  vessel.  "  What  has  he 
inscribed  on  his  crucible?  '  OcJi!  och! ' — the  word  for  driving 
away  fleas  ?  Your  Marc  Cenaine  is  an  ignoramus !  I  can 
well  believe  that  you  could  not  make  gold  with  this !  It  will 
be  useful  to  put  in  your  sleeping  alcove  in  the  summer,  but 
for  nothing  more." 

"  Since  we  are  on  the  subject  of  errors,"  said  the  King's 

276 


The  Two  Men  in   Black 

attorney,  "  before  coming  up  I  was  studying  the  doorway 
down  below ;  is  your  Reverence  quite  sure  tliat  the  beginnings 
of  Nature's  workings  are  represented  there  on  the  side  towards 
the  Hotel-Dieu,  and  that  among  the  seven  naked  figures  at 
the  feet  of  Our  Lady,  that  with  wings  to  his  heels  is 
Mercurius  ?  " 

"  Yes,"  answered  the  priest ;  "  so  Augustin  Nypho  writes 
— that  Italian  doctor  who  had  a  bearded  familiar  which  taught 
him  everything.  But  we  will  go  down,  and  I  will  explain  it 
to  you  from  the  text." 

"  Thank  you,  master,"  said  Charmolue,  bending  to  the 
ground.  "  By-the-bye,  I  had  forgotten !  When  do  you  wish 
me  to  arrest  the  little  witch  ?  " 

"What  witch?" 

"  That  gipsy  girl,  you  know,  who  comes  and  dances  every 
day  in  the  Parvis,  in  defiance  of  the  prohibition.  She  has  a 
familiar  spirit  in  the  shape  of  a  goat  with  devil's  horns — it 
can  read  and  write  and  do  arithmetic — enough  to  hang  all 
Bohemia.  The  charge  is  quite  ready  and  would  soon  be 
drawn  up.  A  pretty  creature,  on  my  soul,  that  dancing  girl ! 
— the  finest  black  eyes  in  the  world — two  Egyptian  carbun- 
cles.    When  shall  we  begin  ?  " 

The  Archdeacon  had  grown  deadly  pale. 

"  I  will  let  you  know,"  he  stammered  in  almost  inaudible 
tones,  then  added  with  an  effort :  "  Attend  you  to  Marc 
Cenaine." 

"  Never  fear,"  answered  Charmolue  smiling.  "  As  soon 
as  I  get  back  he  shall  be  strapped  down  again  to  the  leather 
bed.  But  it  is  a  very  devil  of  a  man.  He  tires  out  Pierrat 
Torterue  himself,  who  has  larger  hands  than  I.  As  says  our 
good  Plautus — 

'  Nudus  vincttis,  centum  pondo,  es  quando  pendes  per  pedes'  * 

The  screw — that  is  our  most  effectual  instrument — we  shall 
try  that." 

Dom  Claude  seemed  sunk  in  gloomy  abstraction.  He 
now  turned  to  Charmolue.  "  Maitre  Pierrat— Maitre  Jacques. 
I  should  sav — look  to  Marc  Cenaine." 


*  Naked  and  bound  thou  weighest  a  hundred  pounds  when  hung  up 
by  the  feet. 

277 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  Yes,  yes,  Dom  Claude.  Poor  man  !  he  will  have  suffered 
like  Mummol.  But  what  a  thingnS^TJo^^cTvisit  the  witches' 
Sabbath ! — and  he  butler  to  the  Court  of  Accounts,  who  must 
know  Charlemagne's  regulation :  '  Stryga  vd  iiiasca.'  *  As  to 
the  little  girl — Smelarda,  as  they  call  her— I  .slialL^wait  y_our_ 
orders.  Ah !  as  we  pass  through  the  door  you  will  explain  to 
me  also  the  signification  of  that  gardener  painted  on  the  wall 
just  as  you  enter  the  church.  Is  that  not  the  Sower?  He! 
master,  what  are  you  thinking  about  ?  " 

Dom  Claude,  fathoms  deep  in  his  own  thoughts,  was  not 
listening  to  him.  Charmolue,  following  the  direction  of  his 
eyes,  saw  that  they  were  fixed  blankly  on  the  spider's  web 
which  curtained  the  little  window.  At  this  moment  a  foolish 
fly,  courting  the  March  stmshine,  threw  itself  against  the  net, 
and  was  caught  fast.  Warned  by  the  shaking  of  his  web, 
the  enormous  spider  darted  out  of  his  central  cell,  and  with 
one  bound  rushed  upon  the  fly,  promptly  doubled  it  up,  and 
with  its  horrible  sucker  began  scooping  out  the  victim's  head. 
"  Poor  fly !  "  said  the  King's  attorney,  and  lifted  his  hand  to 
rescue  it.  The  Archdeacon,  as  if  starting  out  of  his  sleep, 
held  back  his  arm  with  a  convulsive  clutch, 

"  Maitre  Jacques,"  he  cried,  "  let  fate  have  its  way !  " 

Maitre  Jacques  turned  round  in  alarm;  he  felt  as  if  his 
arm  were  in  an  iron  vice.  The  eye  of  the  priest  was  fixed, 
haggard,  glaring,  and  remained  fascinated  by  the  horrible 
scene  between  the  spider  and  the  fly. 

"  Ah,  yes !  "  the  priest  went  on,  in  a  voice  that  seemed  to 
issue  from  the  depths  of  his  being,  "  there  is  a  symbol  of 
the  whole  story.  She  flies,  she  is  joyous,  she  has  but  just 
entered  life ;  she  courts  the  spring,  the  open  air,  freedom ; 
yes,  but  she  strikes  against  the  fatal  web — the  spider  darts 
out,  the  deadly  spider!  Hapless  dancer!  Poor,  doomed  fly! 
Maitre  Jacques,  let  be — it  is  fate !  Alas !  Claude,  thou  art  the 
spider.  But  Claude,  thou  art  also  the  fly!  Thou  didst  wing 
thy  flight  towards  knowledge,  the  light,  the  sun.  Thy  one 
care  was  to  reach  the  pure  air,  the  broad  beams  of  truth 
eternal ;  but  in  hastening  towards  the  dazzling  loophole  which 
opens  on  another  world — a  world  of  brightness,  of  intelligence, 

*  A  witch  or  ghost. 
278 


The  Two  Men  in  Black 

of  true  knowledge — infatuated  fly !  insensate  sage !  thou  didst 
not  see  the  cunning  spider's  web,  by  destiny  suspended  be- 
tween the  light  and  thee;  thou  didst  hurl  thyself  against  it, 
poor  fool,  and  now  thou  dost  struggle  with  crushed  head  and 
mangled  wings  between  the  iron  claws  of  Fate !  Maitre  Jac- 
ques, let  the  spider  work  its  will !  " 

"  I  do  assure  you,"  said  Charmolue,  who  gazed  at  him  in 
bewilderment,  "  that  I  will  not  touch  it.  But  in  pity,  master, 
loose  my  arm ;  you  have  a  grip  of  iron." 

The  Archdeacon  did  not  heed  him.  "  Oh,  madman ! " 
he  continued,  without  moving  his  eyes  from  the  loophole. 
"  And  even  if  thou  couldst  have  broken  through  that  formida- 
ble web  with  thy  midge's  wings,  thinkest  thou  to  have  at- 
tained the  light !  Alas !  that  glass  beyond — that  transparent 
obstacle,  that  wall  of  crystal  harder  than  brass,  the  barrier 
between  all  our  philosophy  and  the  truth — how  couldst  thou 
have  passed  through  that  ?  Oh,  vanity  of  human  knowledge ! 
how  many  sages  have  come  fluttering  from  afar  to  dash  their 
heads  against  thee !  How  many  clashing  systems  buzz  vainly 
about  that  everlasting  barrier !  " 

He  was  silent.  These  last  ideas,  by  calling  ofif  his  thoughts 
from  himself  to  science,  appeared  to  have  calmed  him,  and 
Jacques  Charmolue  completely  restored  him  to  a  sense  of 
reality  by  saying :  "  Come,  master,  when  are  you  going  to 
help  me  towards  the  making  of  gold?     I  long  to  succeed." 

The  Archdeacon  shrugged  his  shoulders  with  a  bitter 
smile. 

"  Maitre  Jacques,  read  Michael  Psellus's  Dialogiis  de  Encr- 
gia  et  Opcratione  Dcemonum.  What  we  are  doing  is  not  quite 
innocent." 

"  Speak  lower,  master !  I  have  my  doubts,"  said  Char- 
molue. "  But  one  is  forced  to  play  the  alchemist  a  little  when 
one  is  but  a  poor  attorney  in  the  Ecclesiastical  Court  at  thirty 
crowns  tournois  a  year.     Only  let  us  speak  low." 

At  this  moment  a  sound  of  chewing  and  crunching  from 
the  direction  of  the  furnace  struck  on  the  apprehensive  ear 
of  Maitre  Jacques. 

"  What  is  that  ?  "  he  asked. 

It  was  the  scholar,  who,  very  dull  and  cramped  in  his 
hiding-place,  had  just  discovered  a  stale  crust  and  a  comer 

N  279  yol.  4 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

of  mouldy  cheese,  and  had  without  more  ado  set  to  work 
upon  both  by  way  of  breakfast  and  amusement.  As  he  was 
very  hungry,  he  made  a  great  noise,  giving  full  play  to  his 
teeth  at  every  mouthful,  and  thus  aroused  the  alarm  of  the 
King's  attorney. 

"  It  is  my  cat,"  the  Archdeacon  hastily  repUed ;  "  she  must 
have  got  hold  of  a  mouse  in  there." 

This  explanation  entirely  satisfied  Charmolue.  "  True, 
master,"  he  said  with  an  obsequious  smile,  "  all  great  phi- 
losophers have  some  familiar  animal.  You  know  what  Servius 
says  :  '  Nitllus  enim  locus  sine  genio  est.'  "  * 

Meanwhile,  Dom  Claude,  fearing  some  new  freak  of 
Jehan's,  reminded  his  worthy  disciple  that  they  had  the  fig- 
ures in  the  doorway  to  study  together.  They  therefore  quitted 
the  cell,  to  the  enormous  relief  of  the  scholar,  who  had  begun 
to  have  serious  fears  that  his  chin  would  take  root  in  his  knees. 


VI 


OF  THE  RESULT  OF  LAUNCHING  A  STRING  OF  SEVEN  OATHS 

IN  A  PUBLIC  SQUARE 

"  Tc  Dcum  laudamus! "  exclaimed  Master  Jehan,  crawling 
out  of  his  hole;  "the  two  old  owls  have  gone  at  last.  Och! 
och!  Hax!  pax!  max! — fleas! — mad  dogs! — the  devil!  I've 
had  enough  of  their  conversation.  My  head  hums  like  a 
belfry.  And  mouldy  cheese  into  the  bargain !  Well,  cheer 
up !  let's  be  ofif  with  the  big  brother's  purse  and  convert  all 
these  coins  into  bottles." 

He  cast  a  look  of  fond  admiration  into  the  interior  of  the 
precious  pouch,  adjusted  his  dress,  rubbed  his  shoes,  dusted 
his  shabby  sleeves,  which  were  white  with  ashes,  whistled  a 
tune,  cut  a  lively  step  or  two,  looked  about  the  cell  to  see 
if  there  was  anything  else  worth  taking,  rummaged  about  the 
furnace  and  managed  to  collect  a  glass  amulet  or  so  by  way 

*  There  is  no  place  without  its  guardian  spirit. 
280 


Result  of  Oaths  Uttered  in  a  Square 

of  trinket  to  give  to  Isabeaii  la  Thierrye,  and  finally  opened 
the  door,  which  his  brother  had  left  unfastened  as  a  last 
indulgence,  and  which  he  in  turn  left  open  as  a  last  piece 
of  mischief,  and  descended  the  spiral  staircase,  hopping  like 
a  bird.  In  the  thick  darkness  of  the  winding  stairs  he  stum- 
bled against  something  which  moved  out  of  the  way  with  a 
growl.  He  surmised  that  it  was  Quasimodo,  which  circum- 
stance so  tickled  his  fancy  that  he  descended  the  rest  of  the 
stairs  holding  his  sides  with  laughter.  He  was  still  laughing 
when  he  issued  out  into  the  square. 

He  stamped  his  foot  when  he  found  himself  on  level 
ground. 

"  Oh,  most  excellent  and  honourable  pavement  of  Paris !  " 
he  exclaimed.  "  Oh,  cursed  staircase,  that  would  wind  the 
very  angels  of  Jacob's  ladder !  What  was  I  thinking  of  to  go 
and  thrust  myself  up  that  stone  gimlet  that  pierces  the  sky, 
just  to  eat  bearded  cheese  and  look  at  the  steeples  of  Paris 
through  a  hole  in  the  wall !  " 

He  went  on  a  few  steps,  and  caught  sight  of  the  "two 
owls  "  lost  in  contemplation  of  the  sculpture  in  the  doorway. 
Approaching  them  softly  on  tip-toe,  he  heard  the  Archdeacon 
say  in  low  tones  to  Charmolue :  "  It  was  Guillaume  of  Paris 
who  had  the  Job  engraven  on  the  lapis-lazuli  coloured  stone. 
Job  represents  the  philosopher's  stone,  which  also  must  be 
tried  and  tormented  in  order  to  become  perfect,  as  Raymond 
Lulle  says :  *  Sub  canservatione  forma  specificce  salva  anima.'  "  * 

"  It's  all  one  to  me,"  said  Jehan ;  "  I've  got  the  purse." 

At  that  moment  he  heard  a  powerful  and  ringing  voice 
behind  him  give  vent  to  a  string  of  terrible  oaths : 

"  Sang-Diert!  Ventre-Dieu!  Be-Dieu!  Corps  de  Dieii! 
Nomhril  de  Bchebuth!     Nom  d'un  pape!     Come  ct  tonnerre! " 

"  My  soul  on  it ! "  exclaimed  Jehan,  "  that  can  be  no 
other  than  my  friend  Captain  Phoebus !  " 

The  name  Phoebus  reached  the  ear  of  the  Archdeacon  just 
as  he  was  explaining  to  the  King's  attorney  the  meaning  of 
the  dragon  hiding  its  tail  in  a  caldron  from  which  issued 
smoke  and  a  king's  head.  Dom  Claude  started  and  broke 
off    short    to    the    great    astonishment    of    Charmolue,    then 

•  By  preserving  it  under  a  special  form  the  soul  is  saved. 

281 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

turned  and  saw  his  brother  Jehan  accosting  a  tall  officer  at 
the  door  of  the  Gondelaurier  mansion. 

It  was,  in  fact,  Captain  Phoebus  Chateaupers.  He  was 
leaning  his  back  against  a  corner  of  the  house  of  his  betrothed 
and  swearing  like  a  Turk. 

"  My  faith,  Captain  Phoebus,"  said  Jehan,  taking  his  hand, 
"  but  you  are  a  wonderfully  spirited  swearer !  " 

"  Thunder  and  devils !  "  answered  the  captain. 

"  Thunder  and  devils  to  you !  "  retorted  the  scholar. 
"  How  now.  my  gentle  captain,  whence  this  overflow  of 
elegant  language  ?  " 

"  Your  pardon,  friend  Jehan !  "  cried  Phoebus,  shaking  his 
hand,  "  a  runaway  horse  can't  be  pulled  up  short.  Now  I 
was  swearing  at  full  gallop.  I've  just  been  with  those  mincing 
prudes,  and  by  the  time  I  come  away  my  throat's  so  full  of 
oaths  that  I  must  spit  them  out,  or  by  thunder  I  should 
choke !  " 

"  Come  and  have  a  drink  ?  "  asked  the  scholar. 

This  proposal  calmed  the  young  soldier. 

"  With  all  my  heart,  but  I've  no  monev." 

"  But  I  have." 

"  Nonsense  !  let's  see." 

With  an  air  of  good-natured  superiority  Jehan  displayed 
the  purse  before  his  friend's  eyes. 

Meanwhile  the  Archdeacon,  leaving  Charmolue  standing 
gaping,  had  approached  the  two  and  stopped  a  few  paces  oflf, 
observing  them  without  their  noticing  him,  so  absorbed  were 
they  in  examining  the  contents  of  the  purse. 

"  A  purse  in  your  pocket,  Jehan !  "  exclaimed  Phoebus, 
"  why,  'tis  the  moon  in  a  pail  of  water — one  sees  it,  but  it  is 
not  there,  it  is  only  the  reflection.  Par  Dieii!  I'll  wager  it's 
full  of  pebbles !  " 

"  These  are  the  pebbles  with  which  I  pave  my  breeches 
pockets,"  answered  Jehan  coldly ;  and  without  further  wasting 
of  words  he  emptied  the  purse  on  a  corner-stone  near  by,  with 
the  air  of  a  Roman  saving  his  country. 

"  As  I  live !  "  muttered  Phoebus,  "  targes !  grands  blancs ! 
petits  blancs !  deniers  parisis !  and  real  eagle  pieces !  'Tis 
enough  to  stagger  one  !  " 

Jehan  preserved  his  dignified  and  impassive  air.     A  few 

282 


Result  of  Oaths  Uttered  in  a  Square 

Hards  had  rolled  into  the  mud ;  the  captain  in  his  enthusiasm 
stooped  to  pick  them  up.     But  Jehan  restrained  him. 

"  Fie,  Captain  Phoebus  de  Chateaupers !  " 

Phoebus  counted  the  money,  and  turning  solemnly  to 
Jehan :  "  Do  you  know,  Jehan,"  said  he,  "  that  there  are 
twenty-three  sous  parisis  here?  Whom  did  you  rob  last 
night  in  the  Rue  Coupe-Gueule  ?  " 

Jehan  tossed  his  curly  head.  "  How  if  one  has  a  brother," 
he  said,  narrowing  his  eyes  as  if  in  scorn,  "  an  archdeacon 
and  a  simpleton  ?  " 

"  Come  de  Dieu!  "  cried  Phoebus,  "  the  worthy  man !  " 

"  Let's  go  and  drink,"  said  Jehan. 

"Where  shall  we  go?"  said  Phoebus,  "to  the  Pomme 
d'Eve?" 

"  No,  captain,  let's  go  to  the  Vieille-Science." 

"  A  fig  for  your  Vieille-Science,  Jehan !  the  wine  is  better 
at  the  Pomme  d'Eve ;  besides,  there's  a  vine  at  the  door  that 
cheers  me  while  I  drink." 

"  Very  well,  then — here  goes  for  Eve  and  her  apple,"  said 
the  scholar,  taking  Phoebus  by  the  arm.  -"  By-the-bye,  my 
dear  captain,  you  spoke  just  now  of  the  Rue  Coupe-Gueule.* 
That  is  very  grossly  said ;  we  are  not  so  barbarous  now — 
we  call  it  Rue  Coupe-Gorge."  f 

The  two  friends  turned  their  steps  towards  the  Pomme 
d'Eve.  Needless  to  say  they  first  gathered  up  the  money, 
and  the  Archdeacon  followed  them. 

Followed  them  with  a  haggard  and  gloomy  countenance. 
Was  this  the_Xllfiebus_jdlose  accursed  name,  since  his  inter- 
view witiT  Gringoire,  had  mingled  with"^his""every::thQught? 
He  did  notloTowVbut  at  any  rate  it  was  a  Phoebus,  and  this 
magic  name  was  a  sufficient  magnet  to  draw  the  Arch'deacon 
after  the  two  thoughtless  companions  with  stealthy  step 
listening  to  all  they  said,  anxiously  attentive  to  their  slightest 
gestured  For  the  rest,  there  was  no  difficulty  in  hearing  all 
they  had  to  say,  so  loudly  did  they  talk,  so  little  did  they 
hesitate  to  let  the  passer-by  share  their  confidences.  Their 
talk  was  of  duels,  women,  wine,  folly  of  all  sorts. 

As  they  turned  a  corner,  the  sound  of  a  tambourine  came 


*  Cut-weasand,  f  Cut-throat. 

283 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

to  them  from  a  neighbouring  side  street.  Dom  Claude  heard 
the  officer  say  to  the  scholar : 

"  Thunder !  let's  quicken  our  pace !  "  ,- 

"Why,  Phoebus?" 

"  I'm  afraid  the  gipsy  will  see  me." 

"What  gipsy?" 

"  The  girl  with  the  goat." 

"Esmeralda?" 

"  That's  it,  Jehan.  I  always  forget  her  deuce  of  a  name. 
Let  us  hurry  past  or  she  will  recognise  me,  and  I  don't  want 
the  girl  to  accost  me  in  the  street." 

"  Do  you  know  her  then,  Phoebus  ?  " 

At  first,  the  Archdeacon  saw  Phoebus  lean  over  with  a  grin 
and  whisper  something  in  Jehan's  ear.  Phoebus  then  burst 
out  laughing,  and  threw  up  his  head  with  a  triumphant  air. 

"  In  very  truth  ?  "  said  Jehan. 

"  Upon  my  soul !  " 

"  To-night  ?  " 

"  To-night." 

"  Are  you  sur«  she'll  come  ?  " 

"  But  you  must  be  mad,  Jehan.  Is  there  ever  any  doubt 
about  these  things?" 

"  Captain  Phoebus,  you  are  a  lucky  warrior !  " 

The  Archdeacon  overheard  all  this  conversation.  His 
teeth  chattered.  A  visible  shudder  ran  through  his  whole 
frame.  He  stopped  a  moment  to  lean  against  a  post  like  a 
drunken  man ;  then  he  followed  the  track  of  the  two  boon 
companions. 

When  he  came  up  with  them  again  they  had  changed 
the  subject.  They  were  singing  at  the  top  of  their  voices 
the  refrain  of  an  old  song : 

"  The  lads,  the  dice  who  merrily  throw, 
Merrily  to  the  gallows  go." 


284 


The  Spectre-Monk 

,        VII 

THE   SPECTRE-MONK 

The  far-famed  cabaret  of  the  Pomme  d'Eve  was  situated 
in  the  University,  at  the  corner  of  the  Rue  de  la  Rondelle 
and  the  Rue  du  Batonnier.  It  consisted  of  one  spacious 
room  on  the  ground  floor,  the  central  arch  of  its  very  low 
ceiling  supported  by  a  heavy  wooden  pillar  painted  yellow. 
There  were  tables  all  round,  shining  pewter  pots  hanging  on 
the  walls,  a  constant  crowd  of  drinkers,  and  girls  in  abun- 
dance.  A  single  window  looked  on  to  the  street ;  there  was  a 
vine  at  the  door,  and  over  the  door  a  creaking  sheet  of  iron 
having  a  woman  and  an  apple  painted  on  it,  rusted  by  the 
rain  and  swinging  in  the  wind — this  was  the  sign-board. 

Night  was  falling;  the  street  was  pitch-dark,  and  the 
cabaret,  blazing  with  candles,  flared  from  afar  like  a  forge 
in  the  gloom,  while  through  the  broken  window-panes  came 
a  continuous  uproar  of  clinking  glasses,  feasting,  oaths,  and 
quarrels.  Through  the  mist  which  the  heat  of  the  room 
diffused  over  the  glass  of  the  door  a  confused  swarm  of  fig- 
ures could  be  seen,  and  now  and  then  came  a  roar  of  laughter. 
The  people  going  to  and  fro  upon  their  business  hastened  past 
this  noisy  casement  with  averted  eyes.  Only  now  and  then 
some  little  ragamuffin  would  stand  on  tip-toe  until  he  just 
reached  the  window-ledge,  and  sRout  into  the  cabaret  the 
old  jeering  cry  with  which  in  those  days  they  used  to  follow 
drunkards:  "  Aux  Houls,  saouls,  saouls,  saouls!" 

One  man,  however,  was  pacing  imperturbably  backward 
and  forward  in  front  of  the  noisy  tavern,  never  taking  his  eye 
off  it,  nor  going  farther  away  from  it  than  a  sentry  from  his 
box.  He  was  cloaked  to  the  eyes,  which  cloak  he  had  just 
purchased  at  a  clothier's  shop  near  the  Pomme  d'Eve,  perhaps 
to  shield  himself  from  the  keen  wind  of  a  March  night,  per- 
haps also  to  conceal  his  dress.  From  time  to  time  he  stopped 
before  the  dim  latticed  casement,  listening,  peering  in,  stamp- 
ing his  feet. 

At  length  the  door  of  the  cabaret  opened — this  was  evi- 
dently what  he  had  been  waiting  for — and  a  pair  of  boon  com- 

285 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

panions  came  out.  The  gleam  of  light  that  streamed  out  of 
the  doorway  glowed  for  a  moment  on  their  flushed  and  jovial 
faces.  The  man  in  the  cloak  went  and  put  himself  on  the 
watch  again  under  a  porch  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  street. 

"  Cornc  et  tonncrre!  "  said  one  of  the  two  carousers.  "  It's 
on  the  stroke  of  seven — the  hour  of  my  rendezvous." 

"  I  tell  you,"  said  his  companion,  speaking  thickly,  "  I 
don't  live  in  the  Rue  des  Mauvaises-Paroles — indignus  qui 
inter  mala  verba  habitat.  My  lodging  is  in  the  Rue  Jean-Pain- 
Mollet — in  vice  Johannis-Pain-Mollet,  and  you're  more  horny 
than  a  unicorn  if  you  say  the  contrary.  Everybody  knows 
that  he  who  once  rides  on  a  bear's  back  never  knows  fear  again ; 
but  you've  a  nose  for  smelling  out  a  dainty  piece  like  Saint- 
Jacques  de  I'Hopital !  " 

"  Jehan,  my  friend,  you're  drunk,"  said  the  other. 

His  friend  replied  with  a  lurch.  "  It  pleases  you  to  say 
so,  Phoebus;  but  it  is  proved  that  Plato  had  the  profile  of 
a  hound." 

Doubtless  the  reader  has  already  recognised  our  two 
worthy  friends,  the  captain  and  the  scholar.  It  seems  that 
the  man  who  was  watching  them  in  the  dark  had  recognised 
them  too,  for  he  followed  slowly  all  the  zigzags  which  the 
scholar  obliged  the  captain  to  make,  who,  being  a  more 
seasoned  toper,  had  retained  his  self-possession.  Listening 
intently  to  them,  the  man  in  the  cloak  overheard  the  whole 
of  the  following  interesting  conversation : 

"  Corbacque!  Try  to  walk  straight,  sir  bachelor.  You 
know  that  I  must  leave  you  anon.  It  is  seven  o'clock,  and 
I  have  an  appointment  with  a  woman." 

"  Leave  me  then !  I  see  stars  and  spears  of  fire.  You're 
like  the  Chateau  of  Dampmartin  that  burst  with  laughter." 

"  By  the  warts  of  my  grandmother !  Jehan,  that's  talking 
nonsense  with  a  vengeance !  Look  you,  Jehan,  have  you  no 
money  left?  " 

"  Monsieur  the  Rector,  it  is  without  a  mistake :  the  little 
slaughter-house — parva  boucheria!  " 

"  Jehan !  friend  Jehan !  you  know  I  promised  to  meet  that 
girl  at  the  end  of  the  Saint-Michel  bridge ;  that  I  can  take 
her  nowhere  but  to  La  Falourdel's,  and  that  I  must  pay  for 
the   room.     The   old   white-whiskered   jade   won't   give    me 

286 


The  Spectre-Monk 


credit.  Jehan,  I  beseech  you!  Have  we  drunk  the  whole 
contents  of  the  cure's  pouch  ? " 

"  The  consciousness  of  having  employed  the  other  hours 
well  is  a  right  and  savoury  condiment  to  our  table." 

"  Liver  and  spleen !  a  truce  to  your  gibberish  1  Tell  me, 
little  limb  of  the  devil,  have  you  any  money  left?  Give  it 
me,  or,  by  Heaven,  I'll  search  you  though  you  were  as  leprous 
as  Job  and  as  scabby  as  Csesar !  " 

"  Sir,  the  Rue  Galiache  is  a  street  which  has  the  Rue  de 
la  Verrerie  at  one  end  and  the  Rue  de  la  Tixanderie  at  the 
other." 

"  Yes,  yes,  my  good  friend  Jehan — my  poor  boy — the  Rue 
Galiache — yes,  you're  right,  quite  right.  But  for  the  love  of 
Heaven  collect  yourself!  I  want  but  one  sou  parisis,  and 
seven  o'clock  is  the  hour." 

"  Silence  all  round  and  join  in  the  chorus : 

"  '  When  the  rats  have  every  cat  devoured, 
The  king  shall  of  Arras  be  the  lord  ; 
When  the  sea,  so  deep  and  wide, 
Shall  be  frozen  over  at  midsummertide, 
,  Then  out  upon  the  ice  you'll  see 
How  the  men  of  Arras  their  tow^n  shall  flee.'  " 

"  Well,  scholar  of  Antichrist,  the  foul  fiend  strangle  thee !  " 
cried  Phoebus,  roughly  pushing  the  tipsy  scholar,  who  reeled 
against  the  wall  and  slid  gently  down  upon  the  pavement  of 
Philippe  Augustus.  Out  of  that  remnant  of  fraternal  sym- 
pathy which  never  wholly  deserts  the  heart  of  a  bottle  com- 
panion, Phoebus  with  his  foot  rolled  Jehan  to  one  of  those 
pillows  of  the  poor  which  Heaven  provides  at  every  street 
corner  of  Paris,  and  which  the  rich  scornfully  stigmatize  with 
the  name  of  rubbish-heap.  The  captain  propped  Jehan's  head 
upon  an  inclined  plane  of  cabbage-stumps,  and  forthwith  the 
scholar  struck  up  a  magnificent  tenor  snore.  However,  the 
captain  still  entertained  some  slight  grudge  against  him.  "  So 
much  the  worse  for  thee  if  the  dust-cart  come  and  shovel 
thee  up  in  passing,"  said  he  to  the  poor,  slumbering  student ; 
and  he  went  on  his  way. 

The  man  with  the  cloak,  who  still  dogged  his  footsteps, 

287 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

halted  a  moment  as  if  struggling  with  some  resolve ;  then, 
heaving  a  deep  sigh,  he  went  on  after  the  soldier. 

Like  them,  we  will  leave  Jehan  sleeping  under  the  friendly 
eye  of  heaven,  and,  with  the  reader's  permission,  follow 
their  steps. 

On  turning  into  the  Rue  Saint-Andre-des-Arcs,  Captain 
Phoebus  perceived  that  some  one  was  following  him.  Hap- 
pening to  glance  behind  him,  he  saw  a  sort  of  shade  creeping 
after  him  along  the  wall.  He  stopped,  it  stopped ;  he  went 
on,  the  shade  also  moved  forward.  However,  it  caused  him 
but  little  uneasiness.  "  Ah,  bah ! "  he  said  to  himself,  "  I 
haven't  a  sou  on  me." 

In  front  of  the  College  d'Autun  he  made  a  halt.  It  was 
here  that  he  had  shuffled  through  what  he  was  pleased  to  call 
his  studies,  and  from  a  naughty  school-boy  habit  which  still 
clung  to  him  he  never  passed  the  College  without  offering 
to  the  statue  of  Cardinal  Pierre  Bertram,  which  stood  to  the 
right  of  the  entrance,  that  kind  of  affront  of  which  Priapus 
complains  so  bitterly  in  Horace's  satire :  "  Olim  trunciis  eram 
Hculnus."  He  therefore  paused  as  usual  at  the  effigy  of  the 
cardinal.  The  street  was  perfectly  empty.  As  he  was  pre- 
paring to  proceed  on  his  way,  he  saw  the  shadow  approaching 
him  slowly ;  so  slowly  that  he  had  the  leisure  to  observe  that  it 
wore  a  cloak  and  a  hat.  Arrived  at  his  side,  it  stopped  and 
stood  as  motionless  as  the  statue  of  the  cardinal ;  but  it  fixed 
on  Phoebus  a  pair  of  piercing  eyes  which  gleamed  with  the 
strange  light  that  the  pupils  of  a  cat  give  forth  at  night. 

The  captain  was  no  coward,  and  would  have  cared  very 
little  for  a  robber  rapier  in  hand ;  but  this  walking  statue, 
this  petrified  man,  froze  his  blood.  Queer  stories  were  going 
about  at  that  time  of  a  spectre-monk  who  nightly  roamed  the 
streets  of  Paris,  and  these  stories  now  returned  confusedly 
to  his  mind.  He  stood  for  a  moment  bewildered  and  stupe- 
fied, and  then  broke  the  silence. 

"  Sir,"  said  he,  forcing  a  laugh,  "  if  you  are  a  thief,  which 
I  trust  is  the  case,  you  look  to  me  for  all  the  world  like  a 
heron  attacking  a  nutshell.  My  good  fellow,  I  am  a  ruined 
youth  of  family.  But  try  your  luck  here — in  the  chapel  of 
this  College  you  will  find  a  piece  of  the  true  cross  set 
in  silver." 

288 


The  Spectre-Monk 


The  hand  of  the  shade  came  forth  from  under  its  cloak 
and  fell  upon  Phoebus's  arm  with  the  grip  of  an  eagle's  talons, 
while  at  the  same  time  it  spoke.  "  Captain  Phoebus  de 
Chateaupers !  "  it  said. 

"  The  devil !  "  exclaimed  Phoebus ;  "  you  know  my  name?" 

"  I  know  more  than  your  name,"  returned  the  cloaked 
man  in  sepulchral  tones.  "  I  know  that  you  have  a  rendez- 
vous to-night." 

"  Yes,  I  have,"  answered  Phoebus  in  amazement. 

"  At  seven  o'clock." 

"  In  a  quarter  of  an  hour." 

"  At  La  Falourdel's." 

"  Precisely." 

"  The  old  procuress  of  the  Pont  Saint-Michel." 

"  Of  Saint-Michael  the  Archangel,  as  says  the  pater- 
noster." 

"  Impious  one !  "  growled  the  spectre.    "With  a  woman?  " 

"  Confiteor — I  confess  it." 

"  Whose  name  is " 

"  La  Smeralda,"  said  Phoebus  lightly ;  all  his  carelessness 
returned  to  him. 

At  this  name  the  spectre's  grip  tightened,  and  he  shook 
the  captain's  arm  furiously. 

"  Captain  Phoebus  de  Chateaupers,  thou  liest  !•" 

Any  one  beholding  at  that  moment  the  flame  of  anger  that 
rushed  to  the  soldier's  face,  his  recoil — so  violent  that  it  re- 
lieved him  from  the  other's  clutch,  the  haughty  air  with 
which  he  laid  his  hand  upon  the  hilt  of  his  sword,  and,  in 
face  of  that  passionate  resentment,  the  sullen  immobility  of 
the  man  in  the  cloak — any  one  beholding  this  would  have 
been  startled.  It  was  like  the  combat  between  Don  Juan 
and  the  statue. 

"  Christ  and  Satan !  "  cried  the  captain,  "  that's  a  word  that 
seldom  attacks  the  ear  of  a  Chateaupers !  Thou  darest  not 
repeat  it !  " 

"  Thou  liest !  "  said  the  shade  coldly. 

The  captain  ground  his  teeth.  Spectre-monk,  phantom, 
superstitions — all  were  forgotten  at  this  moment.  He  saw 
only  a  man  and  an  insult. 

"  Ha — very  good !  "  he  stammered,  his  voice  choking  with 

289 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

rage,  and  he  drew  his  sword,  still  stammering — for  passion 
makes  a  man  tremble  as  well  as  fear.  "  Draw,"  he  cried, 
"  here — on  the  spot — draw  and  defend  yourself !  There  shall 
be  blood  upon  these  stones !  " 

The  other  never  stirred.  Then,  as  he  saw  his  adversary  on 
guard  and  ready  to  run  him  through — "  Captain  Phoebus," 
said  he,  and  his  voice  shook  with  bitterness,  "  you  are  for- 
getting your  assignation." 

The  angry  fits  of  such  men  as  Phoebus  are  like  boiling 
milk  of  which  a  drop  of  cold  water  will  stay  the  ebullition. 
These  few  words  brought  down  the  point  of  the  sword  which 
glittered  in  the  captain's  hand. 

"  Captain,"  continued  the  man,  "  to-morrow — the  day  after 
— a  month — ten  years  hence — you  will  find  me  ready  to  cut 
3^our  throat ;  but  now  go  to  your  rendez\'ous." 

"  Why,  in  truth."  said  Phoebus,  as  if  parleying  with  him- 
self, "  a  sword  and  a  girl  are  two  charming  things  with  which 
to  have  a  rendezvous ;  but  I  see  no  reason  why  I  should  miss 
the  one  for  the  sake  of  the  other,  when  I  can  have  them  both." 
And  with  that  he  put  up  his  sword. 

"  Go  to  your  rendezvous,"  repeated  the  unknown. 

"  Sir,"  said  Phoebus  with  some  embarrassment,  "  thanks 
for  your  courtesy.  You  are  right,  there  will  be  plenty  of 
time  to-morrow  for  us  to  mutually  make  slashes  and  button- 
holes in  father  Adam's  doublet.  I  am  obliged  to  you  for  thus 
permitting  me  to  pass  another  agreeable  quarter  of  an  hour. 
I  was  indeed  in  hopes  of  laying  you  in  the  gutter,  and  yet 
arriving  in  time  for  the  lady,  all  the  more  that  it  is  not 
amiss  to  make  women  wait  for  you  a  little  on  such  occa- 
ions.  But  you  seem  to  be  a  fellow  of  mettle,  so  it  will  be 
afer  to  put  it  off  till  to-morrow.  So  now  I  will  be  of?  to 
my  rendez^^ous ;  it  is  for  seven  o'clock,  you  know."  Here 
Phoebus  scratched  his  ear.  "Ah,  corne  Dieu!  I'd  forgot- 
ten— I  have  not  a  sou  to  pay  the  hire  of  the  garret,  and 
the  old  hag  will  want  to  be  paid  in  advance — she  will  not 
trust  me." 

"  Here  is  the  wherewithal  to  pay." 

Phoebus  felt  the  cold  hand  of  the  unknown  slip  a  large 
coin  into  his.  He  could  not  refrain  from  accepting  the  money 
and  grasping  the  hand. 

290 


The  Spectre-Monk 


"  God's  truth ! "  he  exclaimed,  "  but  you  are  a  good 
fellow !  " 

"  One  condition,"  said  the  man ;  "  prove  to  me  that  I  was 
wrong,  and  that  you  spoke  the  truth.  Hide  me  in  some 
comer  whence  I  may  see  whether  this  woman  be  really  she 
whom  you  named." 

"  Oh,"  answered  Phoebus,  "  I  have  not  the  slightest  objec- 
tion. We  shall  use  the  '  Sainte-Marthe  room,'  and  you  can 
see  into  it  as  much  as  you  like  from  a  little  den  at  one 
side  of  it." 

"  Come,  then,"  said  the  shade. 

"  At  your  service,"  said  the  captain.  "  For  all  I  know, 
you  may  be  Messer  Diabolus  in  person.  But  let's  be  good 
friends  to-night;  to-morrow  I  will  pay  you  all  my  debts — 
both  of  the  purse  and  the  sword." 

They  went  forward  at  a  rapid  pace,  and  in  a  few  moments 
the  sound  of  the  river  below  told  them  that  they  were  on  the 
Pont  Saint-Michel,  at  that  time  lined  with  houses. 

"  I  will  get  you  in  first,"  said  Phoebus  to  his  companion, 
"  and  then  go  and  fetch  the  lady,  who  was  to  wait  for  me  near 
the  Petit-Chatelet." 

His  companion  made  no  reply.  Since  they  had  been 
walking  side  by  side  he  had  not  uttered  a  word.  Phoebus 
stopped  in  front  of  a  low  door  and  knocked  loudly.  A  light 
shone  through  the  crevices  of  the  door." 

"  Who's  there  ?  "  cried  a  quavering  old  voice. 

"  Corps-Dieu!  Tcte-Dieu!  Ventre-Dieul "  answered  the 
captain. 

The  door  opened  on  the  instant,  revealing  to  the  new- 
comers an  old  woman  and  an  old  lamp,  both  of  them  tremb- 
ling. The  old  woman  was  bent  double,  clothed  in  rags,  her 
palsied  head,  out  of  which  peered  two  little  blinking  eyes, 
tied  up  in  a  kerchief,  and  wrinkles  everywhere — her  hands, 
her  face,  her  neck ;  her  lips  were  fallen  in  over  her  gums, 
and  all  round  her  mouth  were  tufts  of  white  bristles,  giving 
her  the  whiskered  look  of  a  cat. 

The  interior  of  the  hovel  was  no  less  dilapidated  than  her- 
self— ^the  plaster  dropping  from  the  walls,  smoke-blackened 
beams,  a  dismantled  chimney-piece,  cobwebs  in  every  corner; 
in  the  middle  a  tottering  company  of  broken-legged  tables 

291 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

and  stools,  in  the  cinders  a  dirty  child,  and  at  the  back  a 
stair-case,  or  rather  a  wooden  ladder,  leading  to  a  trap-door 
in  the  ceiling. 

As  he  entered  this  den,  Phcebus's  mysterious  companion 
pulled  his  cloak  up  to  his  eyes.  Meanwhile  the  captain, 
swearing  like  a  Saracen,  hastened  to  produce  his  crown  piece. 

"  The  *  Sainte-Marthe  room,'  "  he  said  as  he  presented  it. 

The  old  hag  treated  him  like  a  lord  and  shut  up  the  ecu 
in  a  drawer.  It  was  the  coin  Phoebus  had  received  from  the 
man  in  the  cloak.  No  sooner  was  her  back  turned,  than  the 
little  tousle-headed  ragamuffin  playing  in  the  cinders  stole 
to  the  drawer,  adroitly  abstracted  the  coin,  and  replaced  it 
by  a  withered  leaf  which  he  plucked  from  a  fagot. 

The  old  woman  signed  to  the  two  gentlemen,  as  she 
entitled  them,  to  follow  her,  and  ascended  the  ladder.  Ar- 
rived on  the  upper  floor  she  set  down  her  lamp  upon  a  chest, 
and  Phoebus,  as  one  knowing  the  ways  of  the  house,  opened 
a  side  door  giving  access  to  a  small  dark  space. 

"  In  here,  my  dear  fellow^"  said  he  to  his  companion. 
The  man  in  the  cloak  obeyed  without  a  word.  The  door 
closed  behind  him ;  he  heard  Phoebus  bolt  it,  and  a  moment 
afterw-ard  return  dow-n  the  ladder  with  the  old  woman.  The 
light  had  disappeared. 


vni 

THE  CONVENIENCE  OF  \VINDOWS  OVERLOOKING  THE  RIVER 

Claude  Frollo — for  we  presume  the  reader,  more  intel- 
ligent than  Phoebus,  has  seen  throughout  this  adventure  no 
other  spectre-monk  than  the  Archdeacon — Claude  Frollo 
groped  about  him  for  some  moments  in  the  darksome  hole 
into  which  the  captain  had  thrust  him.  It  was  one  of  those 
corners  which  builders  sometimes  reserve  in  the  angle  be- 
tween the  roof  and  the  supporting  wall.  The  vertical  section 
of  this  den,  as  Phoebus  had  very  aptly  termed  it,  would  have 
exhibited  a  triangle.  It  had  no  window  of  any  description, 
and  the  slope  of  the  roof  prevented  one  standing  upright  in 

292 


The   Convenience  of  River  Windows 

it.  Claude,  therefore,  was  forced  to  crouch  in  the  dust  and 
the  plaster  that  cracked  under  him.  His  head  was  burning. 
Groping  about  him  on  the  floor,  he  found  a  piece  of  broken 
glass  which  he  pressed  to  his  forehead,  and  so  found  some 
slight  relief  from  its  coldness. 

What  was  passing  at  that  moment  in  the  dark  soul  of  the 
Archdeacon?    God  and  himself  alone  knew. 

According  to  what  fatal  order  was  he  disposing  in  his 
thoughts  La  Esmeralda,  Phoebus,  Jacques  Charmolue,  his 
fondly  loved  young  brother,  abandoned  by  him  in  the  gutter, 
his  cloth,  his  reputation  perhaps,  dragged  thus  into  the  house 
of  the  notorious  old  procuress — all  these  images — these  wild 
doings  ?  I  cannot  say ;  but  it  is  very  certain  that  they  formed 
a  horrible  group  in  his  mind's  eye. 

He  had  been  waiting  a  quarter  of  an  hour,  and  he  felt 
that  he  had  aged  a  century  in  that  time.  Suddenly  he  heard 
the  wooden  ladder  creak.  Some  one  was  ascending  it.  The 
trap-door  opened  again,  and  once  more  the  light  made  its 
appearance.  In  the  worm-eaten  door  of  his  retreat  there  was 
a  crack ;  to  this  he  pressed  his  face  and  could  thus  see  all 
that  went  on  in  the  adjoining  space.  The  old  cat-faced  hag 
came  first  through  the  trap-door,  lamp  in  hand ;  then  followed 
Phoebus,  twirling  his  mustaches ;  and  lastly  a  third  person,  a 
beautiful  and  graceful  figure — La  Esmeralda.  To  the  priest 
she  issued  from  below  like  a  dazzling  apparition.  Claude 
shook,  a  mist  spread  before  his  eyes,  his  pulses  throbbed 
violently,  everything  turned  round  him,  there  was  a  roaring 
in  his  ears ;  he  saw  and  heard  no  more. 

When  he  came  to  himself  again,  Phoebus  and  Esmeralda 
were  alone,  seated  upon  the  wooden  chest  beside  the  lamp, 
the  light  of  which  revealed  to  the  Archdeacon  the  two  youthful 
figures  and  a  miserable  pallet  at  the  back  of  the  attic. 

Close  to  the  couch  was  a  window,  the  casement  of  which, 
cracked  and  bulging  like  a  spider's  web  in  the  rain,  showed 
through  its  broken  strands  a  small  patch  of  sky,  and  far 
down  it  the  moon  reclining  on  a  pillow  of  soft  clouds. 

The  girl  was  blushing,  panting,  confused.  Her  long, 
drooping  lashes  shaded  her  glowing  cheeks.  The  ofificer,  to 
whom  she  dared  not  lift  her  eyes,  was  radiant.  Mechanically, 
and  with   a  ravishing  coy   air,   she   was   tracing   incoherent 

293 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

lines  on  the  bench  with  the  tip  of  her  finger,  her  eyes  fol- 
lowing the  movement.  Her  foot  was  hidden,  for  the  little 
goat  was  hing  on  it. 

The  captain  was  arrayed  for  conquest,  with  ruffles  of  gold 
lace  at  his  throat  and  wrists — the  extreme  of  elegance  in 
those  days. 

It  was  not  without  difficulty  that  Dom  Claude  could  hear 
their  conversation,  so  loudly  did  the  blood  beat  in  his  ears. 

A  dull  affair  enough,  the  conversation  of  a  pair  of  lovers 
— one  never-ending  "  I  love  you  "  ;  a  musical  phrase,  but 
terribly  monotonous  and  insipid  to  the  indififerent  listener. 
But  Claude  was  no  indifferent  listener. 

"  Oh,"  said  the  girl,  without  lifting  her  eyes,  "  do  not 
despise  me,  Monseigneur  Phoebus.  I  feel  that  I  am  doing 
very  wrong !  " 

"  Despise  you,  pretty  one !  "  returned  the  officer  with  an 
air  of  superior  and  princely  gallantry,  "  despise  you,  Tete- 
Dieii,  and  what  for  ?  " 

"  For  having  followed  you." 

"  On  that  score,  my  charmer,  we  do  not  at  all  agree.  I 
ought  not  to  despise,  but  to  hate  you." 

The  girl  looked  up  at  him  frightened.  "  Hate  me !  What 
have  I  done  ?  " 

"  Why,  you  have  taken  so  much  soliciting." 

"  Alas !  "  said  she,  "  it  is  that  I  am  breaking  a  vow — I 
shall  never  find  my  parents — the  amulet  will  lose  its  virtue 
— but  what  of  that? — what  need  have  I  of  a  father  or  mother 
now  ?  "  And  she  fixed  on  the  soldier  her  large  dark  eyes, 
dewy  wath  tenderness  and  delight. 

"  The  devil  fly  away  with  me  if  I  know  what  you  mean !  " 
cried  Phoebus. 

Esmeralda  was  silent  for  a  moment,  then  a  tear  rose  to 
her  eyes,  and  a  sigh  to  her  lips,  as  she  murmured,  "  Oh,  sir, 
I  love  you !  " 

There  was  around  the  girl  such  a  halo  of  chastity,  such 
a  perfume  of  virtue,  that  Phoebus  was  not  quite  at  his  ease 
with  her.  These  words,  however,  emboldened  him.  "  You 
love  me !  "  he  exclaimed  with  transport,  and  threw  his  arm 
round  the  gipsy's  waist.  He  had  only  been  on  the  lookout 
for  an  opportunity. 

294 


The  Convenience  of  River  Windows 

The  priest  beheld  this,  and  tried  with  his  finger-tip  the 
edge  of  the  dagger  which  he  kept  concealed  in  his  bosom. 

"  Phoebus,"  the  gipsy  went  on,  at  the  same  time  gently 
disengaging  her  waist  from  the  officer's  clinging  hands,  "  you 
are  good,  you  are  generous,  you  are  handsome.  You  saved 
me — me,  who  am  but  a  poor  wandering  gipsy  girl.  I  had 
long  dreamed  of  an  officer  who  should  save  my  life.  It  was 
of  you  I  dreamed  before  I  met  you,  my  Phoebus.  The  officer 
of  my  'dream  wore  a  fine  uniform  like  yours,  a  grand  look, 
a  sword.  You  are  called  Phoebus ;  it  is  a  beautiful  name. 
I  love  your  name ;  I  love  your  sword.  Draw  your  sword, 
Phoebus,  and  let  me  look  at  it." 

"  Child !  "  said  the  captain,  unsheathing  his  sword  with 
an  indulgent  smile. 

The  Egyptian  looked  at  the  hilt,  at  the  blade,  examined 
with  adorable  curiosity  the  monogram  on  the  guard,  and  then 
kissed  the  sword.  "  You  are  the  sword  of  a  brave  man," 
she  said.     "  I  love  my  officer." 

Here  Phoebus  availed  himself  of  the  opportunity,  as  she 
bent  over  the  sword,  to  press  a  kiss  upon  her  fair  neck, 
which  made  the  girl  flush  crimson  and  draw  herself  up,  while 
the  priest  ground  his  teeth  in  the  darkness. 

**  Phoebus,"  the  gipsy  resumed,  "  let  me  talk  to  you.  But 
first,  pray  you,  walk  about  a  little  that  I  may  see  you  at 
your  full  height,  and  hear  the  ring  of  your  spurs.  How 
handsome  you  are  !  " 

The  captain  rose  to  please  her,  chiding  her  the  while  with 
a  smile  of  satisfied  vanity.  "  What  a  child  it  is !  Apropos, 
sweetheart,  have  you  ever  seen  me  in  gala  uniform  ?  " 

"  Alas !  no,"  said  she. 

"  Ah,  that's  worth  looking  at !  "  He  reseated  himself 
beside  the  gipsy,  but  much  closer  this  time  than  before. 
"  Listen,  my  sweet " 

The  gipsy  girl  gave  two  or  three  little  taps  of  her  pretty 
hand  on  his  mouth  with  a  playfulness  that  was  full  of  child- 
like grace  and  gaiety.  "  No,  no,  I  will  not  listen  to  any- 
thing. Do  you  love  me?  I  want  you  to  tell  me  if  you  love 
me." 

"  Do  I  love  thee,  angel  of  my  life !  "  exclaimed  the  cap- 
tain, sinking  on  one  knee  before  her.     "  I  am  thine — body, 

295 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

blood,  and  soul :  all,  all  would  I  give  for  thee.  I  love  thee, 
and  have  never  loved  but  thee." 

The  captain  had  so  often  repeated  this  sentence,  on  so 
many  similar  occasions,  that  he  delivered  it  at  one  breath, 
and  without  a  single  blunder.  At  this  passionate  declaration 
the  Egyptian  raised  to  the  dingy  ceiling — which  here  took 
the  place  of  heaven — a  look  full  of  inefifable  happiness.  "  Oh," 
she  murmured,  "  this  is  the  moment  at  which  one  should 
die !  " 

Phoebus  found  "  the  moment  "  more  suitable  for  snatching 
another  kiss,  which  went  to  torture  the  miserable  Archdeacon 
in  his  hiding-place. 

"  Die  !  "  cried  the  amorous  captain.  "  What  are  you  say- 
ing, my  angel?  This  is  the  time  to  live,  or  Jupiter  is  but 
a  scoundrel !  To  die  at  the  beginning  of  so  delicious  an 
occasion !  Come  de  boeiif — that  were  a  poor  joke  indeed ! 
No,  indeed.  Listen,  my  dear  Similar,  Esmenarda —  Pardon 
me!  but  you've  got  a  name  so  prodigiously  Saracen  that  I 
can't  get  it  out  properly — 'tis  a  thicket  that  always  brings  me 
up  short." 

"  Alas !  "  said  the  poor  girl,  "  and  I  used  to  like  the  name 
for  its  singularity.  But  since  it  displeases  you,  I  would  I 
were  called  Goton." 

"  Oh,  'tis  not  worth  crying  about,  sweetheart !  It's  a 
name  one  must  get  accustomed  to,  that's  all.  Once  I  know 
it  by  heart,  'twill  come  readily  enough.  Listen,  then,  my 
Similar,  I  love  you  to  distraction — it's  positively  miraculous 
how  much  I  love  you.  I  know  a  little  girl  who  is  bursting 
with  rage  over  it." 

"  Who  is  that  ?  "  the  gipsy  broke  in  jealously, 

"  What  does  it  matter  to  us  ?  "  answered  Phoebus.  "  Do 
you  love  me  ?  " 

"  Oh !  "  said  she. 

"  Well,  that's  enough.  You  shall  see  how  much  I  love 
you  too.  May  the  great  demon  Neptune  stick  me  on  his 
fork,  if  I  don't  make  you  the  happiest  creature  living.  We'll 
have  a  pretty  little  lodging  somewhere.  My  archers  shall 
parade  before  your  windows.  They  are  all  mounted,  and 
cut  out  those  of  Captain  Mignon  completely.  There  are  bill- 
men,  cross-bowmen,  and  culverin-men.     I  will  take  you  to 

296 


The  Convenience  of  River   Windows 

the  great  musters  of  the  Paris  men-at-arms  at  the  Grange  de 
RuUy.  That's  a  very  magnificent  sight.  Eighty  thousand 
men  under  arms — thirty  thousand  in  shining  armour;  the 
sixty-seven  banners  of  the  trade  guilds ;  the  standards  of  the 
ParUament,  of  the  Chamber  of  Accounts,  the  Pubhc  Treas- 
ury, of  the  Workers  in  the  Mint — in  short,  a  deviUsh  fine 
show !  Then  Til  take  you  to  see  the  lions  at  the  King's 
palace — beasts  of  prey,  you  know — women  always  like 
that." 

For  some  minutes  the  girl,  absorbed  in  her  own  happy 
thoughts,  had  been  dreaming  to  the  sound  of  his  voice  with- 
out attending  to  his  words. 

"  Oh,  how  happy  you  will  be,"  continued  the  soldier,  and 
at  the  same  time  gently  unfastening  the  gipsy's  belt. 

"  What  are  you  doing  ?  "  she  said  brusquely — this  forceful 
proceeding  had  roused  her  from  her  dreams. 

"  Nothing,"  answered  Phoebus.  "  I  was  only  saying  that 
you  would  have  to  put  away  all  this  mountebank,  street- 
dancer  costume  when  you  are  going  to  be  with  me." 

"  To  be  with  you,  my  Phoebus,"  said  the  girl  fondly,  and 
she  fell  silent  and  dreamy  again. 

Emboldened  by  her  gentleness  the  captain  clasped  his  arm 
about  her  waist  without  her  offering  any  resistance ;  he  then 
began  softly  to  unlace  the  pretty  creature's  bodice,  and  so 
disarranged  her  neckerchief,  that  from  out  of  it  the  panting 
priest  beheld  the  gipsy's  beautiful  bare  shoulder  rise,  round 
and  dusky  as  the  moon  through  a  misty  horizon. 

The  girl  let  Phoebus  work  his  will.  She  seemed  uncon- 
scious of  what  he  was  doing.  The  captain's  eyes  gleamed. 
Suddenly  she  turned  to  him.  "  Phoebus,"  she  said  with  a 
look  of  boundless  love,  "  teach  me  your  religion." 

"  My  religion ! "  exclaimed  the  captain  with  a  guffaw. 
"  Teach  you  my  religion !  Thunder  and  lightning !  what  do 
you  want  with  my  religion  ?  " 

"  That  we  may  be  married,"  answered  she. 

A  mingled  look  of  surprise,  disdain,  unconcern,  and  licen- 
tious passion  swept  over  the  captain's  face.  "  Ah,  bah !  "  said 
he,  "  who  talks  of  marriage  ?  " 

The  gipsy  turned  pale,  and  let  her  head  droop  sadly  on 
her  breast. 

297 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  Sweetheart,"  went  on  Phoebus  fondly,  "  what  matters 
such  foolery  as  marriage?  Shall  we  be  any  less  loving  for 
not  having  gabbled  some  Latin  in  a  priest's  shop  ?  " 

And  as  he  said  this  in  his  most  insinuating  tones,  he  drew 
still  closer  to  the  gipsy ;  his  caressing  arms  had  resumed  their 
clasp  about  that  slender,  pliarrt  waist;  his  eye  kindled  more 
and  more,  and  everything  proclaimed  that  Captain  Phoebus 
was  obviously  approaching  one  of  those  moments  at  which 
Jupiter  himself  behaves  so  foolishly  that  worthy  old  Homer 
is  obliged  to  draw  a  cloud  over  the  scene. 

Dom  Claude,  however,  saw  everything.  The  door  was 
merely  of  worm-eaten  old  puncheon  ribs,  and  left  between 
them  ample  passage  for  his  vulture  gaze.  This  dark-skinned, 
broad-shouldered  priest,  condemned  hitherto  to  the  austere 
chastity  of  the  cloister,  shivered  and  burned  alternately  at 
this  night-scene  of  love  and  passion.  The  sight  of  this  lovely, 
dishevelled  girl  in  the  arms  of  a  young  and  ardent  lover  turned 
the  blood  in  his  veins  to  molten  lead.  He  felt  an  extraordi- 
nary commotion  within  him ;  his  eye  penetrated  with  lascivi- 
ous jealousy  under  all  these  unfastened  clasps  and  laces.  Any 
one  seeing  the  wretched  man's  countenance  pressed  close 
against  the  worm-eaten  bars  would  have  taken  it  for  the  face 
of  a  tiger  looking  through  his  cage  at  some  jackal  devouring 
a  gazelle. 

By  a  sudden,  rapid  movement  Phoebus  snatched  the 
gipsy's  kerchief  completely  off  her  neck.  The  poor  girl,  who 
had  sat  pale  and  dreamy,  started  from  her  reverie.  She 
brusquely  tore  herself  away  from  the  too  enterprising  young 
officer,  and  catching  sight  of  her  bare  neck  and  shoulders, 
blushing,  confused,  and  mute  with  shame,  she  crossed  her 
beautiful  arms  over  her  bosom  to  hide  it.  But  for  the  flame 
that  burned  in  her  cheeks,  to  see  her  thus  standing,  silent  and 
motionless,  with  drooping  eyes,  you  would  have  taken  her 
for  a  statue  of  Modesty. 

But  this  action  of  the  captain's  had  laid  bare  the  mysterious 
amjLilet  which  she  wore  round  her  neck. 

,  "What  is  that?"  he  asked,  seizing  this  pretext  for  once 
/more  approaching  the  beautiful  creature  he  had  frightened 
[away. 

"  Do  not  touch  it,"  she  answered  quickly,  "  it  is  my  pro- 

298 


The  Convenience  of  River  Windows 

tection^_  Through  it  I  shall  find  my  parents  again  if  I  remain 
worthy  of  that.  Oh,  leave  me,  Monsieur  le  Capitaine ! 
Mother!  my  poor  mother!  where  art  thou?  Come  to  my 
aid !  Have  pity,  Monsieur  Phoebus — give  me  back  my  ker- 
chief to  cover  my  bosom." 

But  Phoebus  drew  back  coldly.  "  Ah,  mademoiselle,"  he 
said,  "  I  see  very  plainly  that  you  do  not  love  me !  " 

"  Not  love  him  I  "  cried  the  poor  unhappy  child,  clinging 
wildly  to  him  and  drawing  him  down  to  the  seat  beside  her. 
"  I  do  not  love  thee,  my  Phoebus  ?  What  words  are  these, 
cruel,  to  rend  my  heart !  Oh,  come — take  me !  take  all !  do 
with  me  what  thou  wilt !  I  am  thine.  What  matters  the 
amulet !  What  is  my  mother  to  me  now !  Thou  art  father 
and  mother  to  me  now,  since  I  love  thee !  Phoebus,  beloved, 
look  at  me — see,  'tis  I — 'tis  that  poor  little  one  whom  thou 
wilt  not  spurn  from  thee,  and  who  comes,  who  comes  herself 
to  seek  thee.  My  soul,  my  life,  myself — all,  all  belong  to 
thee,  my  captain.  Well,  so  be  it — we  will  not  marry,  since 
it  is  not  thy  wish.  Besides,  what  am  I  but  a  miserable 
child  of  the  gutter,  while  thou,  my  Phoebus,  art  a  gentleman. 
A  fine  thing,  truly !  A  dancing  girl  to  espouse  an  officer ! 
I  was  mad !  No,  Phoebus,  I  will  be  thy  paramour,  thy  toy, 
thy  pleasure — what  thou  wilt — only  something  that  belongs 
to  thee — for  what  else  was  I  made?  Soiled,  despised,  dis- 
honoured, what  care  I  ?  if  only  I  be  loved  I  shall  be  the 
proudest  and  happiest  of  women.  And  when  I  shall  be  old 
and  ugly,  when  I  am  no  longer  worthy  of  your  love,  mon- 
seigneur,  you  will  sufifer  me  to  serve  you.  Others  will  em- 
broider scarfs  for  you — I,  the  handmaid,  will  have  care  of 
them.  You  will  let  me  polish  your  spurs,  brush  your  doublet, 
and  rub  the  dust  from  oflf  your  riding-boots — will  you  not, 
Phoebus?  You  will  grant  me  so  much?  And  meanwhile, 
take  me — I  am  thine — only  love  ine !  We  gipsies,  that  is  all 
we  ask — love  and  the  free  air  of  heaven !  " 

Speaking  thus,  she  threw  her  arms  round  the  soldier's  neck 
and  raised  her  eyes  to  his  in  fond  entreaty,  smiling  through 
her  tears.  Her  tender  bosom  was  chafed  by  the  woollen 
doublet  and  its  rough  embroidery  as  the  fair,  half-nude  form 
clung  to  his  breast.  The  captain,  quite  intoxicated,  pressed 
his  lips  to  those  exquisite  shoulders,  and  the  girl,  lying  back 

299 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

in  his  arms,  with  half-closed  eyes,  glowed  and  trembled  under 
his  kisses. 

Suddenly  above  the  head  of  Phoebus  she  beheld  another 
head — a  livid,  convulsed  face  with  the  look  as  of  one  of  the 
damned,  and  beside  that  face  a  raised  hand  holding  a  dagger. 
It  was  the  face  and  the  hand  of  the  priest.  He  had  broken 
in  the  door  and  stood  behind  the  pair.  Phoebus  could  not 
see  him.  The  girl  lay  motionless,  petrified  and  speechless 
with  terror  at  the  appalling  apparition,  like  a  dove  that  raises 
her  head  and  catches  the  terrible  keen  eye  of  the  hawk  fixed 
upon  her  nest. 

She  was  unable  even  to  cry  out.  She  saw  the  dagger 
descend  upon  Phoebus  and  rise  again,  reeking. 

"  Malediction !  "  groaned  the  captain,  and  fell. 

The  girl  swooned,  but  at  the  moment  ere  her  eyes  closed 
and  she  lost  all  consciousness,  she  seemed  to  feel  a  fiery  pres- 
sure on  her  lips,  a  kiss  more  searing  than  the  brand  of  the 
torturer. 

When  she  came  to  her  senses  she  found  herself  surrounded 
by  the  soldiers  of  the  watch ;  the  captain  was  being  borne 
away  bathed  in  his  blood,  the  priest  had  vanished,  the  window 
at  the  back  of  the  room  overlooking  the  river  was  wide  open ; 
they  picked  up  a  cloak  which  they  supposed  to  belong  to 
the  officer,  and  she  heard  them  saying  to  one  another: 

"  It  is  a  witch  w^ho  has  stabbed  a  captain." 


300 


^BOOK   VIII 


THE   CROWN   PIECE   CHANGED    INTO   A   WITHERED    LEAF 

Gringoire  and  the  whole  Court  of  Miracles  were  in  a 
state  of  mortal  anxiety.  For  a  whole  long  month  nobody  knew 
what  had  become  of  Esmeralda,  which  greatly  distressed  the 
Duke  of  Egypt  and  his  friends  the  Vagabonds — nor  what  had 
become  of  her  goat,  which  doubled  the  distress  of  Gringoire, 
One  evening  the  Egyptian  had  disappeared,  and  from  that 
moment  had  given  no  sign  of  life.  All  searching  and  inquiries 
had  been  fruitless.  Some  malicious  beggars  declared  that 
they  had  met  her  on  the  evening  in  question  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  the  Pont  Saint-Michel  in  company  with  an  offi- 
cer, but  this  husband  a  la  mode  de  Boheme  was  a  most 
incredulous  philosopher,  and,  besides,  he  knew  better  than  any 
one  to  what  extent  his  wife  was  still  a  maid.  He  had  had  an 
opportunity  of  judging  how  impregnable  was  the  chastity  re- 
sulting from  the  combined  virtues  of  the  amulet  and  the 
gipsy's  own  feelings,  and  he  had  mathematically  calculated 
the  power  of  resistance  of  the  last-mentioned  factor.  On  that 
score,  therefore,  he  was  quite  easy. 

Consequently  he  was  quite  unable  to  account  for  this  dis- 
appearance, which  was  a  source  of  profound  regret  to  him. 
He  would  have  lost  flesh  over  it  had  such  a  thing  been  possi- 
ble. As  it  was,  he  had  forgotten  everything  over  this  subject, 
even  to  his  literary  tastes,  even  to  his  great  opus :  Dc  Hgiiris 
regularibus  et  irregtdaribtis,  which  he  counted  on  getting 
printed  as  soon  as  he  had  any  money.  For  he  raved  about 
printing  ever  since  he  had  seen  the  Didascolon  of  Hugues  de 

301 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Saint-Victor  printed  with  the  famous  types  of  Wendelin  of 
Spires. 

One  day,  as  he  was  passing  dejectedly  before  the  Tour- 
nelle  Criminelle,  he  observed  a  small  crowd  at  one  of  the 
doors  of  the  Palais  de  Justice. 

"  What  is  going  on  ?  "  he  asked  of  a  young  man  who  was 
coming  out. 

"I  do  not  know,  sir,"  replied  the  young  man.  "  They 
say  a  woman  is  being  tried  for  the  murder  of  a  soldier.  As 
there  would  seem  to  be  some  witchcraft  in  the  business,  the 
Bishop  and  the  Holy  Office  have  interfered  in  the  case,  and 
my  brother,  who  is  Archdeacon  of  Josas,  spends  his  whole 
time  there.  As  it  happened,  I  wished  to  speak  with  him, 
but  I  could  not  get  near  him  for  the  crowd — which  annoys 
me  very  much,  for  I  want  money." 

"  Alack,  sir,"  said  Gringoire,  "  I  would  I  had  any  to  lend 
you,  but  though  my  breeches  pockets  are  in  holes,  it  is  not 
from  the  weight  of  coin  in  them." 

He  did  not  venture  to  tell  the  youth  that  he  knew  his 
brother  the  Archdeacon,  whom  he  had  never  visited  since  the 
scene  in  the  church — a  neglect  which  smote  his  conscience. 

The  scholar  went  his  way,  and  Gringoire  proceeded  to 
follow  the  crowd  ascending  the  stairs  to  the  court-room. 
To  his  mind,  there  was  nothing  equal  to  the  spectacle  of  a 
trial  for  dissipating  melancholy,  the  judges  exhibiting,  as  a 
rule,  such  extremely  diverting  stupidity.  The  crowd  with 
whom  he  mingled  walked  and  elbowed  one  another  in  silence. 
After  a  protracted  and  uneventful  pilgrimage  through  a  long 
dark  passage  which  wound  through  the  Palais  like  the  intes- 
tinal canal  of  the  old  edifice,  he  arrived  at  a  low  door  opening 
into  a  court-room  which  his  superior  height  enabled  him  to 
explore  over  the  swaying  heads  of  the  multitude. 

The  hall  was  vast  and  shadowy,  which  made  it  appear  still 
larger.  The  day  was  declining,  the  long  pointed  windows 
admitted  only  a  few  pale  rays  of  light,  which  died  out  before 
they  reached  the  vaulted  ceiling,  an  enormous  trellis-work 
of  carved  wood,  the  thousand  figures  of  which  seemed  to  stir 
confusedly  in  the  gloom.  Several  candles  were  already  lighted 
on  the  tables,  and  gleamed  on  the  heads  of  the  law  clerks 
buried  in  bundles  of  documents.     The  lower  end  of  the  hall 

302 


The  Crown  Piece  Changed 

was  occupied  by  the  crowd ;  to  right  and  left  sat  gowned 
lawyers  at  tables ;  at  the  other  extremity  upon  a  raised  plat- 
form were  a  number  of  judges,  the  back  rows  plunged  in 
darkness — motionless  and  sinister  figures.  The  walls  were 
closely  powdered  with  fleurs-de-lis,  a  great  figure  of  Christ 
might  be  vaguely  distinguished  above  the  heads  of  the  judges, 
and  everywhere  pikes  and  halberds,  their  points  tipped  with 
fire  by  the  glimmering  rays  of  the  candles. 

"  Sir,"  said  Gringoire  to  one  of  his  neighbours,  "  who  are 
all  those  persons  yonder,  ranged  like  prelates  in  council  ?  " 

"  Sir,"  answered  the  man,  "  those  on  the  right  are  the 
Councillors  of  the  High  Court,  and  those  on  the  left  the 
Examining  Councillors — the  maitres  in  black  gowns,  the 
messires  in  red  ones." 

"  And  above  them,  there,"  continued  Gringoire,  "  who  is 
the  big,  red-faced  one  sweating  so  profusely  ?  " 

"  That  is  Monsieur  the  President." 

"  And  those  sheepsheads  behind  him  ?  "  Gringoire  went  on 
— we  know  that  he  had  no  great  love  for  the  magistrature, 
owing,  may-be,  to  the  grudge  he  bore  against  the  Palais  de 
Justice  ever  since  his  dramatic  misadventure. 

"  Those  are  the  lawyers  of  the  Court  of  Appeal  of  the 
Royal  Palace." 

" "  And  that  wild  boar  in  front  of  them  ?  " 

"  Is  the  Clerk  of  the  Court  of  Parliaments." 

"And  that  crocodile  to  the  right  of  him?" 

"  Maitre  Philippe  Lheulier,  King's  advocate  extraordi- 
nary." 

"  And  to  the  left,  that  big  black  cat  ?  " 

"  Maitre  Jacques  Charmolue,  procurator  in  the  Ecclesi- 
astical Court,  with  the  members  of  the  Holy  Office." 

"  And  may  I  ask,  sir,"  said  Gringoire,  "  what  all  these 
worthies  are  about  ?  " 

"  They  are  trying  some  one." 

"Trying  whom?     I  see  no  prisoner." 

"  It  is  a  woman,  sir.  You  cannot  see  her.  She  has  her 
back  turned  to  us,  and  is  hidden  by  the  crowd.  Look,  she 
is  over  there  where  you  see  that  group  of  partisans." 

"Who  is  the  woman?"  asked  Gringoire;  "do  you  know 
her  name  ? " 

O  303  Vol.  4 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  No,  sir,  I  have  but  just  arrived.  I  conclude,  however, 
from  the  presence  of  the  Office  that  there  is  some  question 
of  witchcraft  in  the  matter." 

"  Ah,  ha !  "  said  our  philosopher,  "  so  we  shall  have  the 
pleasure  of  seeing  these  black  gowns  devouring  human  flesh ! 
Well,  it  is  a  spectacle  as  good  as  any  other." 

"  Do  you  not  think,  sir,  that  Maitre  Jacques  Charmolue 
has  a  very  kindly  air  ?  "  observed  his  neighbour. 

"  Hum !  "  responded  Gringoire.  "  I  am  somewhat  dis- 
trustful of  kindness  that  has  such  thin  nostrils  and  sharp  lips." 

Here  the  bystanders  imposed  silence  on  the  two  talkers. 
An  important  deposition  was  being  heard. 

"  My  lords,"  an  old  woman  was  saying,  whose  face  and 
shape  generally  was  so  muffled  in  her  garments  that  she 
looked  like  an  animated  heap  of  rags ;  "  my  lords,  the  thing 
is  as  true  as  that  I  am  La  Falourdel,  for  forty  years  a  house- 
holder on  the  Pont  Saint-Michel,  and  paying  regularly  all 
rents  and  dues  and  ground  taxes — the  door  opposite  to  the 
house  of  Tassin-Caillart,  the  dyer,  which  is  on  the  side  looking 
up  the  river.  A  poor  old  woman  now,  a  pretty  girl  once-a- 
days,  my  lords !  Only  a  few  days  before,  they  said  to  me : 
'  La  Falourdel,  do  not  spin  too  much  of  an  evening,  the  devil 
is  fond  of  combing  old  women's  distaffs  with  his  horns.  'Tis 
certain  that  the  spectre-monk  who  haunted  the  Temple  last 
year  is  going  about  the  city  just  now ;  take  care,  La  Falourdel, 
that  he  does  not  knock  at  your  door.'  I  ask  who's  there. 
Some  one  swears.  I  open  the  door.  Two  men  come  in — 
a  man  in  black  with  a  handsome  officer.  You  could  see  noth- 
ing of  the  black  man  but  his  eyes — two  live  coals — all  the 
rest  hat  and  cloak.  So  they  say  to  me :  '  The  Sainte-Marthe 
room  ' — that  is  my  upper  room,  my  lords,  my  best  one,  and 
they  give  me  a  crown.  I  shut  the  crown  in  a  drawer,  and 
says  I :  '  That  will  do  to  buy  tripe  to-morrow  at  the  slaughter- 
house of  La  Gloriette.'  We  go  upstairs.  Arrived  at  the  upper 
room,  as  I  turn  my  back  a  moment,  the  man  in  black  dis- 
appears. This  astonishes  me  somewhat.  The  officer,  who 
was  handsome  and  grand  as  a  lord,  comes  down  again  with 
me.  He  leaves  the  house,  but  in  about  the  time  to  spin  a 
quarter  of  a  skein  he  returns  with  a  beautiful  young  girl — a 
poppet   who  would   have   shone   like   a   star   had   her  locks 

304 


The  Crown   Piece   Changed 

been  properly  braided.  Following  her  came  a  goat — a  great 
goat — whether  black  or  white  I  can't  remember.  This  set 
me  to  thinking.  The  girl — that  does  not  concern  me — but 
the  goat !  I  don't  like  those  animals  with  their  beards  and 
horns — it's  too  like  a  man.  Besides,  that  smells  of  witch- 
craft. However,  I  say  nothing.  I  had  the  crown  piece.  That 
is  only  fair,  is  it  not,  my  lord  judge  ?  So  I  show  the  captain  and 
the  girl  into  the  upper  room  and  leave  them  alone — that  is 
to  say,  with  the  goat.  I  go  down  and  get  to  my  spin- 
ning again.  I  must  tell  you  that  my  house  has  a  ground 
floor  and  an  upper  storey;  the  back  looks  out  on  to  the 
river,  as  do  all  the  houses  on  the  bridge,  and  the  ground- 
floor  window  and  the  window  of  the  upper  floor  open  on  to 
the  water.  Well,  as  I  was  saying,  I  sat  down  again  to  my 
spinning.  I  don't  know  why,  but  I  began  thinking  about 
the  spectre-monk  whom  the  goat  had  brought  to  my  mind, 
and  that  the  pretty  girl  was  dressed  very  outlandish,  when 
all  at  once  I  hear  a  cry  overhead  and  something  fall  on  the 
floor,  and  then  the  window  opening.  I  run  to  mine,  which  is 
just  underneath,  and  see  a  black  mass  drop  into  the  water — 
a  phantom  dressed  like  a  priest.  It  was  moonlight,  so  I  saw 
it  quite  plainly.  It  swam  away  towards  the  city.  Then,  all 
of  a  tremble,  I  called  the  watch.  The  gentlemen  of  the  guard 
came  in,  and  at  first,  not  knowing  what  was  the  matter,  they 
made  merry  over  it  and  began  to  beat  me.  I  explained  to 
them.  We  go  upstairs,  and  what  do  we  find?  My  unfor- 
tunate room  swimming  in  blood,  the  captain  stretched  his 
whole  length  on  the  floor  with  a  dagger  in  his  neck,  the  girl 
making  as  if  she  were  dead,  and  the  goat  in  a  fury.  '  A  pretty 
business,'  say  I.  '  'Twill  be  a  fortnight's  work  to  clean  up 
these  boards.  It  must  be  scraped — a  terrible  job ! '  They 
carried  away  the  officer,  poor  young  man,  and  the  girl — half- 
naked.  But  stay — the  worst  is  to  come.  The  next  morning, 
when  I  went  to  take  the  crown  to  buy  my  tripe,  I  found  a 
withered  leaf  in  its  place !  " 

The  old  beldame  ceased.  A  murmur  of  horror  went  round 
the  place.  "  That  phantom,  that  goat — all  this  savours  of 
magic,"  said  one  of  Gringoire's  neighbours.  "  And  that  with- 
ered leaf,"  added  another.  "  There  can  be  no  doubt,"  went 
on  a  third,  "  that  it's  some  witch  who  has  commerce  with  the 

305 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

spectre-monk  to  plunder  officers."  Gringoire  himself  was 
not  far  from  thinking  this  connection  both  probable  and 
alarming. 

"  Woman  Falourdel,"  said  the  President  with  majesty, 
*'  have  you  nothing  further  to  declare  to  the  court  ?  " 

"  No,  my  lord,"  answered  the  woman,  "  unless  that  in  the 
report  my  house  has  been  named  a  tumble-down  and  stinking 
hovel,  which  is  insulting  language.  The  houses  on  the  bridge 
are  not  very  handsome,  because  they  swarm  with  people ;  but, 
nevertheless,  the  butchers  live  there,  and  they  are  wealthy 
men  with  handsome  and  careful  wives." 

The  magistrate  who  reminded  Gringoire  of  a  crocodile 
now  rose.  "  Peace !  "  said  he.  "  I  would  beg  you  gentlemen 
not  to  lose  si£:ht  of  the  fact  that  a  dagger  was  found  on  the 
accused.  Woman  Falourdel,  have  you  brought  with  you  the 
withered  leaf  into  which  the  crown  was  transformed  that  the 
demon  gave  you  ?  " 

"  Yes,  my  lord.     I  found  it  again.     Here  it  is." 

An  usher  handed  the  dead  leaf  to  the  crocodile,  who,  with 
a  doleful  shake  of  the  head,  passed  it  to  the  President,  who 
sent  it  on  to  the  procurator  of  the  Ecclesiastical  Court,  so 
that  it  finally  made  the  round  of  the  hall. 

"  'Tis  a  beech  leaf,"  said  Maitre  Jacques  Charmolue,  "  an 
additional  proof  of  magic !  " 

A  councillor  then  took  up  the  word.  ''  Witness,  you  say 
two  men  went  up  together  in  your  house :  the  man  in  black 
whom  you  first  saw  disappear  and  then  swimming  in  the  Seine 
in  priest's  habit,  and  the  ofificer.  Which  of  the  two  gave  you 
the  crown  ?  " 

The  hag  reflected  for  a  moment,  then  answered,  "  It  was 
the  officer." 

A  murmur  ran  through  the  crowd. 

"  Ah,"  thought  Gringoire,  "  that  somewhat  shakes  my 
conviction." 

But  Maitre  Philippe  LheuHer  again  interposed.  "  I  would 
remind  you,  gentlemen,  that  in  the  deposition  taken  down  at 
his  bedside  the  murdered  officer,  while  stating  that  a  vague 
suspicion  had  crossed  his  mind  at  the  instant  when  the  black 
man  accosted  him,  that  it  might  be  the  spectre-monk,  added, 
that  the  phantom  had  eagerly  urged  him  to  go  and  meet  the 

306 


The  Crown  Piece  Changed 

accused,  and  on  his  (the  captain's)  observing  that  he  was 
without  money,  had  given  him  the  crown  which  the  said  officer 
paid  to  La  Falourdel.     Thus  the  crown  is  a  coin  of  hell." 

This  conclusive  observation  appeared  to  dissipate  all 
doubts  entertained  by  Gringoire  or  any  other  sceptics  among 
the  listeners. 

"  Gentlemen,  you  have  the  documents  in  hand,"  added  the 
advocate  as  he  seated  himself,  "  you  can  consult  the  deposition 
of  Phoebus  de  Chateaupers." 

At  this  name  the  accused  started  up.  Her  head  was  now 
above  the  crowd.     Gringoire,  aghast,  recognised  Esmeralda, 

She  was  deadly  pale ;  her  hair,  once  so  charmingly  braided 
and  spangled  with  sequins,  fell  about  her  in  disorder;  her 
lips  were  blue,  her  sunken  eyes  horrifying.     Alas ! 

"  Phoebus !  "  she  cried  distraught,  "  where  is  he  ?  Oh,  my 
lords,  before  you  kill  me,  in  mercy  tell  me  if  he  yet  lives ! " 

"  Silence,  woman !  "  answered  the  President ;  "  that  is  not 
our  concern." 

"  Oh,  in  pity,  tell  me  if  he  lives !  "  she  cried  again,  clasping 
her  beautiful  wasted  hands ;  and  her  chains  clanked  as  she 
moved. 

"  Well,  then,"  said  the  King's  advocate  dryly,  "  he  is  at 
the  point  of  death.     Does  that  satisfy  you  ?  " 

The  wretched  girl  fell  back  in  her  seat,  speechless,  tear- 
less, white  as  a  waxen  image. 

The  President  leaned  down  to  a  man  at  his  feet  who  wore 
a  gilded  cap  and  a  black  gown,  a  chain  round  his  neck,  and  a 
wand  in  his  hand. 

"  Usher,  bring  in  the  second  accused." 

All  eyes  were  turned  towards  a  little  door  which  opened, 
and  to  Gringoire's  great  trepidation  gave  entrance  to  a  pretty 
little  goat  with  gilded  horns  and  hoofs.  The  graceful  crea- 
ture stood  a  moment  on  the  threshold  stretching  her  neck 
exactly  as  if,  poised  on  the  summit  of  a  rock,  she  had  a  vast 
expanse  before  her  eyes.  Suddenly  she  caught  sight  of  the 
gipsy  girl,  and  leaping  over  the  table  and  the  head  of  the  clerk 
in  two  bounds,  she  was  at  her  mistress's  knee.  She  then 
crouched  at  Esmeralda's  feet,  begging  for  a  word  or  a  caress; 
but  the  prisoner  remained  motionless,  even  little  Djali  could 
not  win  a  glance  from  her. 

307 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  Why — 'tis  my  ugly  brute,"  said  old  Falourdel,  "  and  now 
I  recognise  them  both  perfectly ! " 

"  An  it  please  you,  gentlemen,  we  will  proceed  to  the 
interrogation  of  the  goat." 

This,  in  effect,  was  the  second  criminal.  Nothing  was 
more  common  in  those  days  than  a  charge  of  witchcraft 
against  an  animal.  For  instance,  in  the  Provostry  account 
for  1466  there  is  a  curious  specification  of  the  expenses  of 
the  action  against  Gillet  Soulart  and  his  sow,  "  executed  for 
their  demerits  "  at  Corbeil.  Everything  is  detailed — the  cost 
of  the  pit  to  put  the  sow  into ;  the  five  hundred  bundles  of 
wood  from  the  wharf  of  Morsant ;  the  three  pints  of  wine  and 
the  bread,  the  victims'  last  meal,  fraternally  shared  by  the 
executioner ;  and  even  the  eleven  days'  custody  and  keep  of 
the  sow  at  eight  deniers  parisis  per  day.  At  times  they  went 
beyond  animals.  The  capitularies  of  Charlemagne  and  Louis 
le  Debonnaire  impose  severe  penalties  on  fiery  phantoms  who 
had  the  assurance  to  appear  in  the  air. 

Meanwhile  the  procurator  of  the  Ecclesiastical  Court  ex- 
claimed, "  If  the  demon  that  possesses  this  goat,  and  which 
has  resisted  every  exorcism,  persist  in  his  sorceries,  if  he 
terrify  the  court  thereby,  we  forewarn  him  that  we  shall  be 
constrained  to  proceed  against  him  with  the  gibbet  or 
the  stake." 

Gringoire  broke  out  in  a  cold  sweat. 

Charmolue  then  took  from  the  table  the  gipsy's  tam- 
bourine, and  presenting  it  in  a  certain  manner  to  the  goat, 
he  asked:  "  What  is  the  time  of  day?  " 

The  goat  regarded  him  with  a  sagacious  eye,  lifted  her 
gilded  hoof,  and  struck  seven  strokes.  It  was  in  truth  seven 
o'clock.     A  thrill  of  horror  ran  through  the  crowd. 

Gringoire  could  contain  himself  no  longer.  "  She  will  be 
her  own  ruin !  "  he  exclaimed  aloud.  "  You  can  see  for  your- 
self she  has  no  knowledge  of  what  she  is  doing." 

"  Silence  down  there !  "  cried  the  usher  sharply. 

Jacques  Charmolue,  by  means  of  the  same  manoeuvrings 
with  the  tambourine,  made  the  goat  perform  several  other 
tricks  in  connection  with  the  date  of  the  day,  the  month  of  the 
year,  etc.,  which  the  reader  has  already  witnessed.  And  by  an 
optical  illusion  peculiar  to  judicial  proceedings,  these  same 

308 


The  Crown  Piece  Changed 

spectators,  who  doubtless  had  often  applauded  Djali's  inno- 
cent performances  in  the  public  streets,  were  terrified  by  them 
under  the  roof  of  the  Palais  de  Justice.  The  goat  was  indis- 
putably the  devil. 

It  was  much  worse,  however,  when  the  procurator,  having 
emptied  on  the  floor  a  certain  little  leather  bag  full  of  movable 
letters  hanging  from  Djali's  neck,  the  goat  was  seen  to  sep- 
arate from  the  scattered  alphabet  the  letters  of  the  fatal  name 
"  Phoebus."  The  magic  of  which  the  captain  had  been  a 
victim  seemed  incontrovertibly  proven ;  and,  in  the  eyes  of 
all,  the  gipsy  girl,  the  charming  dancer  who  had  so  often 
dazzled  the  passer-by  with  her  exquisite  grace,  was  nothing 
more  nor  less  than  a  horrible  witch. 

As  for  her,  she  gave  no  sign  of  life.  Neither  Djali's  pretty 
tricks  nor  the  menaces  of  the  lawyers,  nor  the  stifled  impre- 
cations of  the  spectators — nothing  reached  her  apprehension 
any  more. 

At  last,  in  order  to  rouse  her,  a  sergeant  had  to  shake 
her  pitilessly  by  the  arm,  and  the  President  solemnly  raised 
his  voice : 

"  Girl,  you  are  of  the  race  of  Bohemians,  and  given  to 
sorcery.  In  company  with  your  accomplice,  the  bewitched 
goat,  also  implicated  in  this  charge,  you  did,  on  the  night 
of  the  twenty-ninth  of  March  last,  in  concert  with  the  powers 
of  darkness,  and  by  the  aid  of  charms  and  spells,  wound  and 
poniard  a  captain  of  the  King's  archers,  Phoebus  de  Cha- 
teaupers  by  name.     Do  you  persist  in  your  denial  ?  " 

"  Horrors !  "  cried  the  girl,  covering  her  face  with  her 
hands.     "  My  Phoebus  !     Oh,  this  is  hell !  " 

"  Do  you  persist  in  your  denial  ?  "  repeated  the  President 
coldly. 

"  Of  course  I  deny  it !  "  she  answered  in  terrible  tones ; 
and  she  rose  to  her  feet  and  her  eyes  flashed. 

"  Then  how  do  you  explain  the  facts  laid  to  your  charge  ?  " 
continued  the  President  sternly. 

"  I  have  already  said,"  she  answered  brokenly,  "  I  do  not 
know.  It  is  a  priest,  a  priest  who  is  unknown  to  me ;  a 
devilish  priest  who  persecutes  me " 

"  There  you  have  it,"  interrupted  the  judge ;  "  the  spectre- 
monk." 

309 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  Oh,  my  lords,  have  pity !     I  am  but  a  poor  girl " 

"  Of  Egypt,"  said  the  judge. 

Maitre  Jacques  Charmolue  here  interposed  in  his  mildest 
tones :  "  In  view  of  the  painful  obstinacy  of  the  accused,  I 
demand  that  she  be  put  to  the  question." 

"  Accorded,"  said  the  President. 

A  shudder  ran  through  the  frame  of  the  hapless  girl.  She 
rose,  however,  at  the  order  of  the  partisan-bearers,  and  walked 
with  a  tolerably  firm  step,  preceded  by  Charmolue  and  the 
priests  of  the  Office  and  between  two  lines  of  halberds, 
towards  a  masked  door,  which  suddenly  opened  and  shut 
again  upon  her,  seeming  to  the  dejected  Gringoire  like  a 
horrible  maw^  swallowing  her  up. 

After  she  had  disappeared  a  plaintive  bleat  was  heard.  It 
was  the  little  goat. 

The  sitting  was  suspended.  A  councillor  having  observed 
that  the  gentlemen  were  fatigued,  and  that  it  would  be  a  long 
time  to  wait  till  the  torture  was  over,  the  President  replied 
that  a  magistrate  should  be  able  to  sacrifice  himself  to 
his  duty. 

"  The  troublesome  and  vexatious  jade,"  said  an  old  judge, 
"  to  force  us  to  apply  the  question  when  we  have  not  yet 
supped ! " 


II 


SEQUEL   TO    THE    CROWN    PIECE    CHANGED    INTO    A    WITHERED 

LEAF 

After  ascending  and  descending  several  flights  of  steps 
leading  to  passages  so  dark  that  they  were  lighted  by  lamps 
at  mid-day,  Esmeralda,  still  surrounded  by  her  lugubrious 
attendants,  was  thrust  by  the  sergeants  of  the  guard  into  a 
chamber  of  sinister  aspect.  This  chamber,  circular  in  form, 
occupied  the  ground  floor  in  one  of  those  great  towers  which, 
even  in  our  day,  pierces  the  layer  of  modern  edifices  with 
which  the  present  Paris  has  covered  the  old.  There  were 
no  windows  to  this  vault ;  no  other  opening  than  the  low- 

310 


Sequel  to  the  Crown  Piece 

browed  entrance,  closed  by  an  enormous  iron  door.  Yet  it  did 
not  want  for  light.  A  furnace  was  built  into  the  thickness 
of  the  wall,  and  in  it  a  great  fire,  which  filled  the  vault  w'ith 
its  crimson  glow  and  entirely  outshone  a  miserable  candle 
flickering  in  a  corner.  The  iron  grating  which  closed  the 
furnace  being  raised  at  that  moment  only  showed,  against 
the  flaming  orifice  whose  licking  flames  danced  on  the  grim 
walls,  the  lower  extremity  of  its  bars  like  a  row  of  sharp  black 
teeth,  giving  the  fire  the  appearance  of  a  fire-breathing  dragon 
of  the  ancient  myths.  By  the  light  that  streamed  from  it  the 
prisoner  beheld,  ranged  round  the  chamber,  frightful  instru- 
ments the  use  of  which  she  did  not  understand.  In  the 
middle  a  leather  mattress  was  stretched  almost  touching  the 
ground,  and  over  that  hung  a  leather  strap  with  a  buckk; 
attached  to  a  copper  ring  held  in  the  mouth  of  a  flat-nosed 
monster  carved  in  the  keystone  of  the  vaulted  roof.  Iron 
pincers,  tongs,  great  ploughshares  were  heaped  inside  the 
furnace  and  glowed  red-hot  upon  the  fire.  The  blood-red 
gleam  of  the  fire  only  served  to  bring  into  view  a  confused 
mass  of  horrible  objects. 

This  Tartarus  was  known  simply  as  the  "  Question  Cham- 
ber." 

Upon  the  bed  sat  with  the  utmost  unconcern  Pierrat 
Torterue,  the  official  torturer.  His  assistants,  two  square- 
faced  gnomes  in  leathern  aprons  and  linen  breeches,  were 
turning  the  irons  in  the  fire. 

The  poor  girl  might  call  up  all  her  courage  as  she  would ; 
on  entering  that  chamber  she  was  seized  with  horror. 

The  myrmidons  of  the  law  ranged  themselves  on  one  side, 
the  priests  of  the  Office  on  the  other.  A  clerk,  a  table  and 
writing  materials  were  in  a  corner. 

Maitre  Jacques  Charmolue  approached  the  Egyptian  with 
his  blandest  smile. 

"  My  dear  child,"  said  he,  "  do  you  persist  in  your  denial  ?  " 

"  Yes,"  she  answered  in  an  expiring  voice. 

"  In  that  case,"  Charmolue  went  on,  "  it  will  be  our  painful 
duty  to  question  you  more  urgently  than  we  would  otherwise 
desire.  Have  the  goodness  to  seat  yourself  on  this  bed. — 
Maitre  Pierrat,  kindly  make  room  for  mademoiselle,  and  close 
the  door." 

311 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Pierrat  rose  with  a  growl.  "  If  I  shut  the  door,"  he  mut- 
tered, "  my  fire  will  go  out."' 

''  Well,  then,  my  good  fellow,"  replied  Charmolue,  "  leave 
it  open." 

Meanwhile,  Esmeralda  had  remained  standing.  This  bed 
of  leather,  on  which  so  many  poor  wretches  had  writhed  ^n 
agony,  filled  her  with  affright.  Terror  froze  her  to  the  mar- 
row :  she  stood  bewildered,  stupefied.  At  a  sign  from  Char- 
molue, the  two  assistants  laid  hold  on  her  and  placed  her 
on  the  bed.  They  did  not  hurt  her ;  but  at  the  mere  touch 
of  these  men,  at  the  touch  of  the  bed,  she  felt  all  her  blood 
rush  to  her  heart.  She  cast  a  distraught  look  round  the  cham- 
ber. She  imagined  she  saw  all  these  monstrous  instruments 
of  torture — which  were,  to  the  instruments  of  any  kind  she 
had  hitherto  seen,  what  bats,  centipeds,  and  spiders  are 
among  birds  and  insects — come  moving  towards  her  from  all 
sides  to  crawl  over  her  body  and  pinch  and  bite  her. 

"  Where  is  the  physician  ?  "  asked  Charmolue. 

"  Here,"  answered  a  black  gown  she  had  not  observed 
before. 

She  shuddered. 

"  Mademoiselle,"  resumed  the  fawning  voice  of  the  attor- 
ney of  the  Ecclesiastical  Court,  "  for  the  third  time,  do  you 
persist  in  denying  the  facts  of  which  you  are  accused  ?  " 

This  time  she  only  bent  her  head  in  assent — she  was  past 
speaking. 

"You  persist?"  said  Jacques  Charmolue.  "Then,  to  my 
infinite  regret,  I  must  fulfil  the  duty  of  my  ofifice."  . 

"  Monsieur  the  King's  Attorney,"  said  Pierrat,  "  with 
which  shall  we  begin  ?  " 

Charmolue  hesitated  a  moment  with  the  ambiguous  gri- 
mace of  a  poet  seeking  a  rhyme.  "  With  the  boot,"  he  said 
at  last. 

The  unhappy  creature  felt  herself  so  completely  forsaken 
of  God  and  man,  that  her  head  dropped  upon  her  breast  like 
a  thing  inert  and  without  any  power  in  itself.  The  torturer 
and  the  physician  approached  her  together,  while  the  two 
assistants  began  to  search  in  their  hideous  collection. 

At  the  clank  of  these  terrible  irons  the  wretched  child 
started  convulsively,  like  a  poor  dead  frog  galvanized  to  life. 

312 


Sequel  to  the   Crown   Piece 

"Oh!"  she  murmured,  so  low  that  no  one  heard  her;  "oh, 
my  Phoebus !  "  Then  she  sank  again  into  her  previous  immo- 
bihty  and  her  stony  silence.  The  spectacle  would  have  wrung 
any  but  the  hearts  of  judges.  It  might  have  been  some  sin- 
stained  soul  being  questioned  by  Satan  at  the  flaming  gate  of 
hell.  Could  the  miserable  body  on  which  this  awful  swarm 
of  saws  and  wheels  and  pincers  was  preparing  to  fasten — 
could  it  be  this  gentle,  pure,  and  fragile  creature  ?  Poor  grain 
of  millet  which  human  justice  was  sending  to  be  ground  by 
the  grewsome  mill-stones  of  torture ! 

And  now  the  horny  hands  of  Pierrat  Torterue's  assistants 
had  brutally  uncovered  that  charming  leg,  that  tiny  foot,  which 
had  so  often  astonished  the  passers-by  with  their  grace  and 
beauty  in  the  streets  of  Paris. 

"  Tis  a  pity ! "  growled  even  the  torturer  at  the  sight  of 
the  slender  and  delicate  limbs. 

Had  the  Archdeacon  been  present,  he  would  certainly  have 
recalled  at  this  moment  his  allegory  of  the  spider  and  the  fly. 

Now,  through  the  mist  that  spread  before  her  eyes,  the 
unhappy  girl  perceived  the  "  boot  "  being  brought  forward, 
saw  her  foot,  encased  between  the  iron-bound  boards,  disap- 
pear within  the  frightful  apparatus.  Terror  restored  her 
strength.  "  Take  it  away !  "  she  cried  vehemently,  starting  up 
all  dishevelled  :  "  Mercy  !  " 

She  sprang  from  the  bed  to  throw  herself  at  Charmolue's 
feet,  but  her  leg  was  held  fast  in  the  heavy  block  of  oak  and 
iron,  and  she  sank  over  the  boot  like  a  bee  with  a  leaden 
weight  attached  to  its  wing. 

At  a  sign  from  Charmolue  they  replaced  her  on  the  bed, 
and  two  coarse  hands  fastened  round  her  slender  waist  the 
leather  strap  hanging  from  the  roof. 

"  For  the  last  time,  do  you  confess  to  the  facts  of  the 
charge  ?  "  asked  Charmolue  with  his  imperturbable  benignity. 

"  I  am  innocent,"  was  the  answer. 

"  Then,  mademoiselle,  how  do  you  explain  the  circum- 
stances brought  against  you  ?  " 

"  Alas,  my  lord,  I  know  not." 

"You  deny  them?" 

"All!" 

"  Proceed,"  said  Charmolue  to  Pierrat. 

313 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Pierrat  turned  the  screw,  the  boot  tightened,  and  the  vic- 
tim uttered  one  of  those  horrible  screams  which  have  no 
written  equivalent  in  any  human  language. 

"  Stop  !  "  said  Charmolue  to  Pierrat.  "  Do  you  confess  ?  " 
said  he  to  the  girl. 

"  All,"  cried  the  wretched  girl.  "  I  confess !  I  confess ! 
Mercy ! " 

She  had  overestimated  her  forces  in  braving  the  torture. 
Poor  child!  life  had  hitherto  been  so  joyous,  so  pleasant,  so 
sweet,  the  first  pang  of  agony  had  overcome  her! 

"  Humanity  obliges  me  to  tell  you,"  observed  the  King's 
attorney,  "  that  in  confessing,  you  have  only  death  to  look 
forward  to." 

"  I  hope  but  for  that !  "  said  she,  and  fell  back  again  on 
the  leather  bed,  a  lifeless  heap,  hanging  doubled  over  the 
strap  buckled  round  her  waist. 

"  Hold  up,  my  pretty !  "  said  Maitre  Pierrat,  raising  her. 
"  You  look  like  the  golden  sheep  that  hangs  round  the  neck 
of  Monsieur  of  Burgundy." 

Jacques  Charmolue  raised  his  voice.  "  Clerk,  write  this 
down.  Gipsy  girl,  you  confess  your  participation  in  the  love- 
feasts,  Sabbaths,  and  orgies  of  hell,  in  company  with  evil 
spirits,  witches,  and  ghouls  ?     Answer !  " 

"  Yes,"  she  breathed  faintly. 

"  You  admit  having  seen  the  ram  which  Beelzebub  causes 
to  appear  in  the  clouds  as  a  signal  for  the  Sabbath,  and  which 
is  only  visible  to  witches  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  You  confess  to  having  adored  the  heads  of  Bophomet, 
those  abominable  idols  of  the  Templars?" 

"  Yes." 

"  To  having  had  familiar  intercourse  with  the  devil  under 
the  form  of  a  pet  goat,  included  in  the  prosecution  ?  " 

"  Yes." 

"  Finally,  you  admit  and  confess  to  having,  on  the  night 
of  the  twenty-ninth  of  March  last,  with  the  assistance  of  the 
demon  and  of  the  phantorn  commonly  called  the  spectre- 
monk,  wounded  and  assassinated  a  captain  named  Phcebus 
de  Chateaupers?  " 

She  raised  her  glazed  eyes  to  the  magistrate  and  answered 

314 


End  of  the   Crown   Piece 

mechanically,  without  a  quiver  of  emotion,  "  Yes."  It  was 
evident  that  her  whole  being  was  crushed. 

"  Take  that  down,"  said  Charmolue  to  the  clerk.  Then, 
turning  to  the  torturer,  "  Let  the  prisoner  be  unbound  and 
taken  back  to  the  court." 

When  the  prisoner  was  "  unbooted,"  the  procurator  of  the 
Ecclesiastical  Court  examined  her  foot,  still  paralyzed  with 
pain.  "  Come,"  said  he,  "  there's  no  great  harm  done.  You 
cried  out  in  time.     You  could  still  dance,  ma  belle !  " 

And  turning  to  the  members  of  the  Office — "  At  length, 
justice  is  enlightened!  That  is  a  great  consolation,  mes- 
sieurs !  Mademoiselle  will  bear  witness  that  we  have  used 
all  possible  gentleness  towards  her." 


Ill 

END  OF  THE  CROWN  PIECE  CHANGED  INTO  A  WITHERED   LEAF 

When,  pale  and  limping,  she  re-entered  the  Court  of  Jus- 
tice, she  was  greeted  by  a  general  murmur  of  pleasure — 
arising  on  the  part  of  the  public  from  that  feeling  of  satisfied 
impatience  experienced  at  the  theatre  at  the  expiration  of  the 
last  entr'acte  of  a  play,  when  the  curtain  rises  and  one  knows 
that  the  end  is  about  to  begin ;  and  on  the  part  of  the  judges 
from  the  hope  of  soon  getting  their  supper.  The  little  goat, 
too,  bleated  with  joy.  She  would  have  run  to  her  mistress, 
but  they  had  tied  her  to  the  bench. 

Night  had  now  completely  fallen.  The  candles,  which  had 
not  been  increased  in  number,  gave  so  little  light  that  the 
walls  of  the  court  were  no  longer  visible.  Darkness  enveloped 
every  object  in  a  kind  of  mist,  through  which  the  apathetic 
faces  of  the  judges  were  barely  distinguishable.  Opposite  to 
them,  at  the  extremity  of  the  long  hall,  they  could  just  see 
a  vague  white  point  standing  out  against  the  murky  back- 
ground.    It  was  the  prisoner. 

She  had  dragged  herself  to  her  place.  When  Charmolue 
had  magisterially  installed  himself  in  his,  he  sat  down,  then 

315 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

rose  and  said,  without  allowing  all  too  much  of  his  satisfac- 
tion at  his  success  to  become  apparent :  "  The  prisoner  has 
confessed  all." 

"Bohemian  girl,"  said  the  President,  "you  have  confessed 
to  all  your  acts  of  sorcery,  of  prostitution,  and  of  assas- 
sination committed  upon  the  person  of  Phoebus  de  Chateau- 
pers  ?  " 

Her  heart  contracted.  They  could  hear  her  sobbing 
through  the  darkness.  "  What  you  will,"  she  returned  feebly, 
"  only  make  an  end  of  me  quickly !  " 

"  Monsieur  the  King's  Attorney  in  the  Ecclesiastical  Court, 
the  court  is  ready  to  hear  your  requisitions." 

Maitre  Charmolue  drew  forth  an  appalling  document,  and 
commenced  reading  with  much  gesticulation  and  the  exag- 
gerated emphasis  of  the  Bar  a  Latin  oration,  in  which  all  the 
evidences  of  the  trial  were  set  out  in  Ciceronian  periphrases, 
flanked  by  citations  from  Plautus.  We  regret  being  unable 
to  oilfer  our  readers  this  remarkable  composition.  The  author 
delivered  it  with  marvellous  eloquence.  He  had  not  con- 
cluded the  exordium  before  the  perspiration  was  streaming 
from  his  brow  and  his  eyes  starting  from  his  head. 

Suddenly,  in  the  verv'  middle  of  a  rounded  period,  he  broke 
oflf  short,  and  his  countenance,  usually  mild  enough  not  to 
say  stupid,  became  absolutely  terrible. 

"  Sirs !  "  he  cried  (this  time  in  French,  for  it  was  not  in 
the  document),  "  Satan  is  so  profoundly  involved  in  this  affair, 
that  behold  him  present  at  our  councils  and  making  a  mock 
of  the  majesty  of  the  law.     Behold  him !  " 

So  saying,  he  pointed  to  the  goat,  which,  seeing  Charmolue 
gesticulate,  thought  it  the  right  and  proper  thing  to  do  like- 
wise, and  seated  on  her  haunches  was  mimicking  to  the  best 
of  her  ability  with  her  fore-feet  and  bearded  head  the  impres- 
sive pantomime  of  the  King's  Attorney  in  the  Ecclesiastical 
Court.  This,  if  you  will  remember,  was  one  of  her  most  en- 
gaging performances. 

This  incident — this  final  proof — produced  a  great  effect. 
They  bound  the  goat's  feet,  and  Charmolue  resumed  the 
thread  of  his  eloquence. 

It  was  long  indeed,  but  the  peroration  was  admirable.  The 
last   sentence   ran   thus — let   the   reader  add   in   imagination. 

316 


End  of  the  Crown  Piece 

the  raucous  voice  and  broken-winded  elocution  of  Maitre 
Charmolue : 

Idco,  domini,  coram  stryga  demonstrata,  crimine  patente, 
intentione  criminis  existentc,  in  nomine  sanctce  ecclesicB  Nostrco- 
DomincB  Parisiensis,  qua:  est  in  saisina  habendi  omnimodam  altam 
ef  bassam,  justitiani  in  ilia  hac  intemerata  Civitatis  insida,  tenore 
prcusentiwn  declaramus  nos  requirere,  primo,  aliquandam  pecunia- 
riam  indemnitatcm;  sccundo,  amendationem  honorabilcm  ante 
portalium  maximum  Nostrce-Domuics,  ecclcsico  cathcdralis ;  tertio, 
sententiam,  in  virtute  cujus  ista  stryga  cum  sua  capella,  sen  in 
trivia  vulgariter  dicto  '  La  Greve,^  seu  in  insula  exeunte  in  Huvio 
Scquance,  juxta  pointam  jardini  regalis,  executes  sint."  * 

He  resumed  his  cap  and  sat  down  again. 

"Ehcn!"  groaned  Gringoire,  overwhelmed  with  grief. 
"  Bassa  latinifas."  f 

Another  man  in  a  black  gown  now  rose  near  the  prisoner. 
It  was  her  advocate.     The  fasting  judges  began  to  murmur. 

"  Advocate,"  said  the  President,  "  be  brief." 

"  Monsieur  the  President,"  replied  the  advocate,  "  since 
the  defendant  has  confessed  the  crime,  I  have  but  one  word 
to  say  to  these  gentlemen.  I  bring  to  their  notice  the  fol- 
lowing passage  of  the  Salic  law :  '  If  a  witch  have  devoured 
a  man  and  be  convicted  of  it,  she  shall  pay  a  fine  of  eight 
thousand  deniers,  which  makes  two  hundred  sous  of  gold.' 
Let  the  court  condemn  my  client  to  the  fine." 

"  An  abrogated  clause,"  said  the  King's  Advocate  Ex- 
traordinary. 

"  Nego."  X 


*  Therefore,  gentlemen,  the  witchcraft  being  proved  and  the  crime 
made  manifest,  as  likewise  the  criminal  intention,  in  the  name  of  the 
holy  church  of  Notre-Dame  de  Paris,  which  is  seized  of  the  right  of  all 
manner  of  justice  high  and  low,  within  this  inviolate  island  of  the  city, 
we  declare  by  the  tenor  of  these  presents  that  we  require,  firstly,  a  pecu- 
niary compensation  ;  secondly,  penance  before  the  great  portal  of  the 
cathedral  church  of  Notre-Dame  ;  thirdly,  a  sentence,  by  virtue  of  which 
this  witch,  together  with  her  goat,  shall  either  in  the  public  square,  com- 
monly called  La  Grfeve,  or  in  the  island  stretching  out  into  the  river  Seine, 
adjacent  to  the  point  of  the  royal  gardens,  be  executed. 

f  Oh,  the  monk's  Latin  ! 

X  I  sa-y  No. 

317 


Notre-Dame   de   Paris 

"  Put  it  to  the  vote !  "  suggested  a  councillor ;  "  the  crime 
is  manifest,  and  it  is  late." 

The  votes  were  taken  without  leaving  the  court.  The 
judges  gave  their  votes  without  a  moment's  hesitation — they 
were  in  a  hurry.  One  after  another  their  heads  w^ere  bared 
at  the  lugubrious  question  addressed  to  them  in  turn  in  a 
low  voice  by  the  President.  The  hapless  prisoner  seemed  to 
be  looking  at  them,  but  her  glazed  eyes  no  longer  saw 
anything. 

The  clerk  then  began  to  write,  and  presently  handed  a 
long  scroll  of  parchment  to  the  President ;  after  which  the 
poor  girl  heard  the  people  stirring,  and  an  icy  voice  say : 

"  Bohemian  girl,  on  such  a  day  as  it  shall  please  our  lord 
the  King  to  appoint,  at  the  hour  of  noon,  you  shall  be  taken 
in  a  tumbrel,  in  your  shift,  barefoot,  a  rope  round  your  neck, 
before  the  great  door  of  Notre-Dame,  there  to  do  penance 
with  a  wax  candle  of  two  pounds'  weight  in  your  hands ;  and 
from  there  you  shall  be  taken  to  the  Place-de-Greve,  where 
you  will  be  hanged  and  strangled  on  the  town  gibbet,  and 
your  goat  likewise ;  and  shall  pay  to  the  Office  three  lion- 
pieces  of  gold  in  reparation  of  the  crimes,  by  you  committed 
and  confessed,  of  sorcery,  magic,  prostitution,  and  murder 
against  the  person  of  the  Sieur  Phoebus  de  Chateaupers.  And 
God  have  mercy  on  your  soul !  " 

"  Oh,  'tis  a  dream !  "  she  murmured,  and  she  felt  rude 
hands  bearing  her  away. 


IV 

LASCIATE   OGNI    SPERANZA 

In  the  Middle  Ages,  when  an  edifice  was  complete  there 
was  almost  as  much  of  it  under  the  ground  as  over  it.  Ex- 
cept it  were  built  on  piles,  like  Notre-Dame,  a  palace,  a 
fortress,  a  church,  had  always  a  double  foundation.  In  the 
cathedrals  it  formed  in  some  sort  a  second  cathedral — sub- 
terranean, low-pitched,  dark,  mysterious — blind  and  dumb — 

318 


Lasciate  Ogni  Speranza 

under  the  aisles  of  the  building  above,  which  were  flooded 
with  light  and  resonant  day  and  night  with  the  music  of  the 
organ  or  the  bells.  Sometimes  it  was  a  sepulchre.  In  the 
palaces  and  fortresses  it  was  a  prison — or  a  sepulchre — some- 
times both  together.  These  mighty  masses  of  masonry,  of 
which  we  have  explained  elsewhere  the  formation  and  growth, 
had  not  mere  foundations,  but  more  properly  speaking  roots 
branching  out  underground  into  chambers,  passages,  and 
stairways,  the  counterpart  of  those  above.  Thus  the  churches, 
palaces,  and  bastilles  might  be  said  to  be  sunk  in  the  ground 
up  to  their  middle.  The  vaults  of  an  edifice  formed  another 
edifice,  in  which  you  descended  instead  of  ascending,  the  sub- 
terranean storeys  of  which  extended  downward  beneath  the 
pile  of  exterior  storeys,  like  those  inverted  forests  and  moun- 
tains mirrored  in  the  waters  of  a  lake  beneath  the  forests 
and  mountains  of  its  shores. 

At  the  Bastille  Saint-Antoine,  at  the  Palais  de  Justice,  and 
at  the  Louvre,  these  subterranean  edifices  were  prisons.  The 
storeys  of  these  prisons  as  they  sank  into  the  ground  became 
even  narrower  and  darker — so  many  zones  presenting,  as  by 
a  graduated  scale,  deeper  and  deeper  shades  of  horror.  Dante 
could  find  nothing  better  for  the  construction  of  his  Inferno. 
These  dungeon  funnels  usually  ended  in  a  tub-shaped  pit,  in 
which  Dante  placed  his  Satan  and  society  the  criminal  con- 
demned to  death.  When  once  a  miserable  being  was  there 
interred,  farewell  to  light,  air,  life — ogni  speranza — he  never 
issued  forth  again  but  to  the  gibbet  or  the  stake  unless, 
indeed,  he  were  left  to  rot  there — which  human  justice  called 
forgctt'ng.  Between  mankind  and  the  condemned,  weighing 
upon  his  head,  there  was  an  accumulated  mass  of  stone  and 
jailers;  and  the  whole  prison,  the  massive  fortress,  was  but 
one  enormous  complicated  lock  that  barred  him  from  the 
living  world. 

It  was  in  one  of  these  deep  pits,  in  the  ouhliettes  excavated 
by  Saint-Louis,  in  the  "  in  pace "  of  the  Tournelle — doubt- 
less for  fear  of  her  escaping — that  they  had  deposited  Es- 
meralda, now  .condemned  to  the  gibbet,  with  the  colossal 
Palais  de  Justice  over  her  head — poor  fly,  that  could  not 
have  moved  the  smallest  of  its  stones !  Truly,  Providence 
and  social  law  alike  had  been  too  lavish;  such  a  profusion 

319 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

of  misery  and  torture  was  not  necessary  to  crush  so  fragile 
a  creature. 

She  lay  there,  swallowed  up  by  the  darkness,  entombed, 
walled,  lost  to  the  world.  Any  one  seeing  her  in  that  state, 
after  beholding  her  laughing  and  dancing  in  the  sunshine, 
would  have  shuddered.  Cold  as  night,  cold  as  death,  no 
breath  of  air  to  stir  her  locks,  no  himian  sound  to  reach  her 
ear,  no  ray  of  light  within  her  eye — broken,  weighed  down 
by  chains,  crouching  beside  a  pitcher  and  a  loaf  of  bread,  on 
a  heap  of  straw,  in  the  pool  of  water  formed  by  the  oozings 
of  the  dungeon  walls — motionless,  almost  breathless,  she  was 
even  past  suffering.  Phcebus,  the  sun,  noonday,  the  free  air, 
the  streets  of  Paris,  dancing  and  applause,  her  tender  love 
passages  with  the  officer — then  the  priest,  the  old  hag,  the 
dagger,  blood,  torture,  the  gibbet — all  this  passed  "in  turn 
before  her  mind,  now  as  a  golden  vision  of  delight,  now  as 
a  hideous  nightmare ;  but  her  apprehension  of  it  all  was  now 
merely  that  of  a  vaguely  horrible  struggle  in  the  darkness, 
or  of  distant  music  still  playing  above  ground  but  no  longer 
audible  at  the  depth  to  which  the  unhappy  girl  had  fallen. 

Since  she  had  been  here  she  neither  waked  nor  slept.  In 
that  unspeakable  misery,  in  that  dungeon,  she  could  no  more 
distinguish  waking  from  sleeping,  dreams  from  reality,  thar 
day  from  night.  All  was  mingled,  broken,  floating  confus- 
edly through  her  mind.  She  no  longer  felt,  no  longer  knew 
no  longer  thought  anything  definitely — at  most  she  dreamed 
Never  has  human  creature  been  plunged  deeper  into  an- 
nihilation. 

Thus  benumbed,  frozen,  petrified,  scarcely  had  she  re- 
marked at  two  or  tltfee~3rfferent  times  the  sound  of  a  trap- 
door opening  somewhere  above  her  head,  without  even  admit 
ting  a  ray  of  light,  and  through  which  a  hand  had  throwr 
her  down  a  crust  of  black  bread.  Yet  this  was  her  only  sur 
viving  communication  with  mankind — the  periodical  visit  o 
the  jailer, 
sb  One  thing  alone  still  mechanically  occupied  her  ear 
'over  her  head  thejnoisture  filtered  through  the  mouldy  stone; 
otthe  vault,  and  at  regular  intervals  a  d^rop  of  water  fellfron 
JXi—  She  listened  stupidly  to  the  splash  macle  by  tliis"^drippin^ 
water  as  it  fell  into  the  pool  beside  her. 

320 


Lasciate  Ogni  Speranza 

This  drop  of  water  falling  into  the  pool  was  the  only  move- 
me"nr?till  perceptible  around  her,  the  only  clock  by  which  to 
measure^  1;ime,,  the  only  sound  that  reached  her  of  all  the  tur- 
moil going' on  on  earth ;  though,  to  be  quite  accurate,  she  was 
conscious  from  time  to  time  in  that  sink  of  mire  and  dark- 
ness of  something  cold  passing  over  her  foot  or  her  arm, 
and  that  made  her  shiver. 

How  long  had  she  been  there?  She  knew  not.  She  re- 
membered a  sentence  of  death  being  pronounced  somewhere 
against  some  one,  and  then  that  she  herself  had  been  car- 
ried away,  and  that  she  had  awakened  in  silence  and  dark- 
ness, frozen  to  the  bone.  She  had  crawled  along  on  her 
hands  and  knees,  she  had  felt  iron  rings  cutting  her  ankles, 
and  chains  had  clanked.  She  had  discovered  that  all  around 
her  were  walls,  that  underneath  her  were  wet  flag-stones  and 
a  handful  of  straw — but  there  was  neither  lamp  nor  air-hole. 
Then  she  had  seated  herself  upon  the  straw,  and  sometimes 
for  a  change  of  position  on  the  lowest  step  of  a  stone  flight 
she  had  come  upon  in  the  dungeon. 

Once  she  had  tried  to  count  the  black  minutes  marked 
for  her  by  the_drip  of  the  water4-but  soon  this  mournful 
labour  of  a  sick  brain  had  discontinued  of  itself  and  left  her 
in  stupor  once  more. 

At  length,  one  day — or  one  night  (for  mid-day  and  mid- 
night had  the  same  hue  in  this  sepulchre) — she  heard  above 
her  a  louder  noise  than  the  turnkey  generally  made  when 
bringing  her  loaf  of  bread  and  pitcher  of  water.  She  raised 
her  head,  and  was  aware  of  a  red  gleam  of  light  through 
the  crevices  of  the  sort  of  door  or  trap  in  the  roof  of  the 
vault.  At  the  same  time  the  massive  lock  creaked,  the  trap- 
door grated  on  its  hinges,  fell  back,  and  she  saw  a  lantern, 
a  hand,  and  the  lower  part  of  the  bodies  of  tw-o  men,  the  door 
being  too  low  for  her  to  see  their  heads.  The  light  stabbed 
her  eyes  so  sharply  that  she  closed  them. 

When  she  opened  them  again  the  door  was  closed,  the 
lantern  placed  on  one  of  the  steps,  and  one  of  the  two  men 
alone  was  standing  before  her.  A  black  monk's  robe  fell  to 
his  feet,  a  cowl  of  the  same  hue  concealed  his  face ;  nothing 
of  his  person  was  visible,  neither  his  face  nor  his  hands — it 
^^as  simply  a  tall  black  shroud  under  which  you  felt  rather 

321 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

than  saw  that  something  moved.  For  some  moments  she 
regarded  this  kind  of  spectre  fixedly,  but  neither  she  nor  it 
spoke.  They  might  have  been  two  statues  confronting  one 
another.  Two  things  only  seemed  alive  in  this  tomb :  the 
wick  of  the  lantern  that  sputtered  in  the  night  air  and  the 
drop  of  water  falling  with  its  monotonous  splash  from  the 
rooTand  making  the  reflection  of  the  light  tremble  in  con- 
centric circles  on  th'^  oily  surface  of  the  pool. 

At  last  the  prisoner  broke  the  s-ilence.  "  Who  are 
you?  " 

"  A  priest." 

The  word,  the  tone,  the  voice  made  her  start. 

The  priest  continued  in  low  tones : 

"  Are  vou  prepared  ?  " 

"For  what?" 

"  For  death." 

"  Oh  !  "  she  exclaimed,  "  will  it  be  soon  ?  " 

"  To-morrow." 

Her  head,  raised  with  joy,  fell  again  on  her  bosom. 

" 'Tis  very  long  to  wait,"  she  sighed;  "why  not  to-day? 
It  could  not  matter  to  them." 

"You  are,  then,  very  wretched?"  asked  the  priest  after 
another  silence. 

"  I  am  very  cofd,"  said  she. 

She  took  her  two  feet  in  her  hands — the  habitual  gesture 
of  the  unfortunate  who  are  cold,  and  which  we  have  already 
remarked  in  the  recluse  of  the  Tour-Roland — and  her  teeth 
chattered. 

From  under  his  hood  the  priest's  eyes  appeared  to  be  sur- 
veying the  dungeon.  "  No  light !  no  fire  !  in  the  water ! — 
'tis  horrible !  " 

"  Yes,"  she  answered  with  the  bewildered  air  which  misery 
had  given  her.  "  The  day  is  for  every  one,  why  do  they 
give  me  only  night  ?  " 

"  Do  you  know,"  resumed  the  priest  after  another  silence, 
"  why  you  are  here  ?  " 

"  I  think  I  knew  it  once,"  she  said  pressing  her  wasted 
fingers  to  her  brow  as  if  to  aid  her  memory;  "but  I  do  not 
know  now."  \ 

Suddenly  she  began  to  weep  like  a  child.     "  I  want  to  gi 

322  j 


Lasciate  Ogni  Speranza 

away  from  here,  sir.  I  am  cold,  I  am  frightened,  and  there 
are  beasts  that  crawl  over  me." 

"  Well,  then — follow  me !  "  And  so  saying,  the  priest 
seized  her  by  the  arm.  The  unhappy  girl  was  already  frozen 
to  the  heart's  core,  but  yet  that  hand  felt  cold  to  her. 

"Oh,"  she  murmured,  "  'tis  the  icy  hand  of  Death !  Who 
are  you  ?  " 

The  priest  raised  his  cowl.  She  looked — it  was  the  sin- 
ister face  that  had  so  long  pursued  her,  the  devilish  head 
that  she  had  seen  above  the  adored  head  of  her  Phoebus,  the 
eye  that  she  had  last  seen  glittering  beside  a  dagger. 

This  apparition,  always  so  fatal  to  her,  which  thus  had 
thrust  her  on  from  misfortune  to  misfortune,  even  to  an  igno- 
minious death,  roused  her  from  her  stupor.  The  sort  of 
veil  that  seemed  to  have  woven  itself  over  her  memory  was 
rent  aside.  All  the  details  of  her  grewsome  adventures,  from 
the  nocturnal  scene  at  La  Falourdel's  to  her  condemnation  at 
La  Tournelle,  came  back  to  her  with  a  rush — not  vague  and 
confused  as  heretofore,  but  distinct,  clear-cut,  palpitating, 
terrible.  These  recollections,  well-nigh  obliterated  by  excess 
of  sufifering,  revived  at  sight  of  that  sombre  figure,  as  the 
heat  of  the  fire  brings  out  afresh  upon  the  blank  paper  the 
invisible  writing  traced  on  it  by  sympathetic  ink.  She  felt 
as  if  all  the  wounds  of  her  heart  were  reopened  and  bleeding 
at  once. 

"  Ah !  "  she  cried,  her  hands  covering  her  face  with  a  con- 
vulsive shudder,  "  it  is  the  priest !  " 

Then  she  let  her  arms  drop  helplessly  and  sat  where  she 
was,  her  head  bent,  her  eyes  fixed  on  the  ground,  speechless, 
shaking  from  head  to  foot. 

The  priest  gazed  at  her  with  the  eye  of  the  kite  which 
after  long  hovering  high  in  the  air  above  a  poor  lark  cow- 
ering in  the  corn,  gradually  and  silently  lessening  the  formi- 
dable circles  of  its  flight,  now  suddenly  makes  a  lightning  dart 
upon  its  prey  and  holds  it  panting  in  its  talons. 

"  Finish,"  she  murmured  in  a  whisper,  "  finish — the  last 
blow !  "  And  her  head  shrank  in  terror  between  her  shoul- 
ders like  the  sheep  that  awaits  the  death-stroke  of  the  butcher. 

"  You  hold  me  in  horror  then  ?  "  he  said  at  last. 

She  made  no  reply. 

323 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  Do  you  hold  me  in  horror?  "  he  repeated. 

Her  Hps  contracted  as  if  she  smiled.  '*  Go  to,"  said  she, 
*'  the  executioner  taunts  the  condemned !  For  months  he 
has  pursued  me,  threatened  me,  terrified  me !  But  for  him, , 
my  God,  how  happy  I  was !  It  is  he  who  has  cast  me  into 
this  pit !  Oh,  heavens !  it  is  he  who  has  killed — it  is  he  who 
has  murdered  him — my  Phoebus  !  " 

Here,  bursting  into  tears,  she  lifted  her  eyes  to  the  priest, 
"  Oh,  wretch !  who  are  you  ? — what  have  I  done  to  you  that 
you  should  hate  me  so  ?     Alas  !  what  have  you  against  me  ?  " 

"  I  love  thee !  "  cried  the  priest. 

Her  tears  ceased  suddenly.  She  regarded  him  with  an 
idiotic  stare.  He  had  sunk  on  his  knees  before  her  and 
enveloped  her  in  a  gaze  of  flame. 

"  Dost  thou  hear  ?     I  love  thee !  "  he  cried  again. 

"  What  love  is  that !  "  she  shuddered. 

"  The  love  of  the  damned !  "  he  answered. 

Both  remained  silent  for  some  minutes,  crushed  under  the 
load  of  their  emotion — he  distraught,  she  stupefied. 

"  Listen,"  the  priest  began  at  last,  and  a  strange  calm 
had  come  over  him ;  "  thou  shalt  know  all.  I  am  going  to 
tell  thee  what  I  have  hitherto  scarcely  dared  to  say  to  myself 
when  I  furtively  searched  my  conscience  in  those  deep  hours 
of  the  night,  when  it  seems  so  dark  that  God  himself  can  see 
us  no  longer.     Listen.     Before  I  saw  thee,  girl,  I  was  happy." 

"  And  I,"  she  faintly  murmured. 

"  Do  not  interrupt  me —  Yes,  I  was  happy,  or  at  least 
judged  myself  to  be  so.  I  was  pure — my  soul  was  filled  with 
limpid  light.  No  head  was  lifted  so  high,  so  radiantly  as 
mine.  Priests  consulted  me  upon  chastity,  ecclesiastics  upoa 
doctrine.  Yes,  learning  was  all  in  all  to  me — it  was  a  sister, 
and  a  sister  suf^ced  me.  Not  but  what,  in  time,  other  thoughts 
came  to  me.  More  than  once  my  flesh  stirred  at  the  passing 
of  some  female  form.  The  power  of  sex  and  of  a  man's 
blood  that,  foolish  adolescent,  I  had  thought  stifled  forever, 
had  more  than  once  shaken  convulsively  the  iron  chain  of  the 
vows  that  rivet  me,  hapless  wretch,  to  the  cold  stones  of  the 
altar.  But  fasting,  prayer,  study,  the  mortifications  of  the 
cloister  again  restored  the  empire  of  the  soul  over  the  body. 
Also  I  strenuously  avoided  women.     Besides,  I  had  but  to 

324 


Lasclate  Ogn-i   Speranza 

open  a  book,  and  all  the  impure  vapours  of  my  brain  were 
dissipated  by  the  splendid  beams  of  learning ;  the  gross  things 
of  this  earth  fled  from  before  me,  and  I  found  myself  once 
more  calm,  serene,  and  joyous  in  the  presence  of  the  steady 
radiance  of  eternal  truth.  So  long  as  the  foul  fiend  only 
sent  against  me  indefinite  shadows  of  women  passing  here 
and  there  before  my  eyes,  in  the  church,  in  the  streets,  in  the 
fields,  and  which  scarce  returned  to  me  in  my  dreams,  I 
vanquished  him  easily.  Alas !  if  it  stayed  not  with  me,  the 
fault  lies  with  God,  who  made  not  man  and  the  demon  of 
equal  strength.     Listen.     One  day " 

Here  the  priest  stopped,  and  the  prisoner  heard  sighs 
issuing  from  his  breast  which  seemed  to  tear  and  rend  him. 

He  resumed.  "  One  day  I  was  leaning  at  the  window  of 
my  cell.  What  book  was  I  reading?  Oh,  all  is  confusion  in 
my  mind — I  was  reading.  The  window  overlooked  an  open 
square.  I  heard  a  sound  of  a  tambourine  and  of  music. 
Vexed  at  being  thus  disturbed  in  my  meditation,  I  looked 
into  the  square.  What  I  saw,  there  were  others  who  saw  it 
too,  and  yet  it  was  no  spectacle  meet  for  mortal  eyes.  There, 
in  the  middle  of  the  open  space — it  was  noon — a  burning  sun 
— a  girl  was  dancing — but  a  creature  so  beautiful  that  God 
would  have  preferred  her  before  the  Virgin — would  have 
chosen  her  to  be  His  mother — if  she  had  existed  when  He 
became  man.  Her  eyes  were  dark  and  radiant ;  amid  her 
raven  tresses  where  the  sun  shone  through  were  strands  that 
glistened  like  threads  of  gold.  Her  feet  were  invisible  in  the 
rapidity  of  their  movement,  as  are  the  spokes  of  a  wheel 
when  it  turns  at  high  speed.  Round  her  head,  among  her 
ebon  tresses,  were  discs  of  metal  that  glittered  in  the  sun 
and  formed  about  her  brows  a  diadem  of  stars.  Her  kirtle, 
thick-set  with  spangles,  twinkled  all  blue  and  studded  with 
sparks  like  a  summer's  night.  Her  brown  and  supple  arms 
twined  and  untwined  themselves  about  her  waist  like  two 
scarfs.  Her  form  was  of  bewildering  beauty.  Oh,  the  daz- 
zling figure  that  stood  out  luminous  against  the  very  sunlight 
itself!  Alas,  girl,  it  was  thou!  Astounded,  intoxicated,  en- 
chanted, I  sufifered  myself  to  gaze  upon  thee.  I  watched  thee 
long  till  suddenly  I  trembled  with  horror — I  felt  that  Fate 
was  laying  hold  on  me." 

325 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

Gasping  for  breath,  the  priest  ceased  speaking  for  a  mo- 
ment, then  he  went  on : 

"  Already  half-fascinated,  I  strove  to  cling  to  something, 
to  keep  myself  from  slipping  farther,  I  recalled  the  snares 
which  Satan  had  already  laid  for  me.  The  creature  before 
me  had  such  supernatural  beauty  as  could  only  be  of  heaven 
or  hell.  That  was  no  mere  human  girl  fashioned  out  of 
particles  of  common  clay  and  feebly  illumined  from  within  by 
the  flickering  ray  of  a  woman's  soul.  It  was  an  angel ! — but 
of  darkness — of  flame,  not  of  light.  At  the  same  moment  of 
thinking  thus,  I  saw  near  thee  a  goat — a  beast  of  the  witches' 
Sabbath,  that  looked  at  me  and  grinned.  The  midday  sun 
gilded  its  horns  with  fire.  'Twas  then  I  caught  sight  of  the 
devil's  snare,  and  I  no  longer  doubted  that  thou  camest  from 
hell,  and  that  thou  wast  sent  from  thence  for  my  perdition. 
I  beheved  it." 

The  priest  looked  the  prisoner  in  the  face  and  added 
coldlv : 

"  And  I  believe  so  still.  However,  the  charm  acted  by 
degrees ;  thy  dancing  set  my  brain  in  a  maze ;  I  felt  the 
mysterious  spell  working  within  me.  All  that  should  have 
kept  awake  fell  asleep  in  my  soul,  and  like  those  who  perish 
in  the  snow,  I  found  pleasure  in  yielding  to  that  slumber. 
All  at  once  thou  didst  begin  to  sing.  What  could  I  do, 
unhappy  wretch  that  I  was.  Thy  song  was  more  enchanting 
still  than  thy  dance.  I  tried  to  flee.  Impossible.  I  was  nailed, 
I  was  rooted  to  the  spot.  I  felt  as  if  the  stone  floor  had  risen 
and  engulfed  me  to  the  knees.  I  was  forced  to  remain  to  the 
end.  My  feet  were  ice,  my  head  was  on  fire.  At  length  thou 
didst,  mayhap,  take  pity  on  me — thou  didst  cease  to  sing — 
didst  disappear.  The  reflection  of  the  dazzling  vision,  the 
echo  of  the  enchanting  music,  died  away  by  degrees  from  my 
eyes  and  ears.  Then  I  fell  into  the  embrasure  of  the  window, 
more  stark  and  helpless  than  a  statue  loosened  from  the  pedes- 
tal. The  vesper  bell  awoke  me.  «  I  rose — I  fled ;  but  alas ! 
there  was  something  within  me  fallen  to  arise  no  more — 
something  had  come  upon  me  from  which  I  could  not  flee." 

Again  he  paused  and  then  resumed :  "  Yes,  from  that  day 
onward  there  was  within  me  a  man  I  did  not  know.  I  had 
recourse  to  all  my  remedies — the  cloister,  the  altar,  labour, 

326 


Lasciate  Ogni   Speranza 

books.  Useless  folly!  Oh,  how  hollow  does  science  sound 
when  a  head  full  of  passion  strikes  against  it  in  despair! 
Knowest  thou,  girl,  what  it  was  that  now  came  between  me 
and  my  books?  It  was  thou,  thy  shadow,  the  image  of  the 
radiant  apparition  which  had  one  day  crossed  my  path.  But 
that  image  no  longer  wore  the  same  bright  hue — it  was  som- 
bre, funereal,  black  as  the  dark  circle  which  haunts  the  vision 
of  the  imprudent  eye  that  has  gazed  too  fixedly  at  the  sun, 

"  Unable  to  rid  myself  of  it ;  with  thy  song  forever  throb- 
bing in  my  ear,  thy  feet  dancing  on  my  breviary,  forever  in 
the  night-watches  and  in  my  dreams  feeling  the  pressure  of 
thy  form  against  my  side — I  desired  to  see  thee  closer,  to 
touch  thee,  to  know  who  thou  wert,  to  see  if  I  should  find 
thee  equal  to  the  ideal  image  that  I  had  retained  of  thee.  In 
any  case,  I  hoped  that  a  new  impression  would  efface  the , 
former  one,  for  it  had  become  insupportable.  I  sought  thee 
out,  I  saw  thee  again.  Woe  is  me !  When  I  had  seen  thee 
twice,  I  longed  to  see  thee  a  thousand  times,  to  gaze  at  thee 
forever.  After  that — how  stop  short  on  that  hellish  incline  ? — 
after  that  my  soul  was  no  longer  my  own.  The  other  end 
of  the  thread  which  the  demon  had  woven  about  my  wings 
was  fastened  to  his  cloven  foot.  I  became  vagrant  and  wan- 
dering like  thyself — I  waited  for  thee  under  porches — I  spied 
thee  out  at  the  corners  of  streets — I  watched  thee  from  the 
top  of  my  tower.  Each  evening  I  returned  more  charmed, 
more  despairing,  more  bewitched,  more  lost  than  before. 

"  I  had  learned  who  thou  wast — a  gipsy — a  Bohemian — 
a  gitana — a  zingara.  How  could  I  doubt  of  the  witchcraft? 
Listen.  I  hoped  that  a  prosecution  would  rid  me  of  the 
spell.  A  sorceress  had  bewitched  Bruno  of  Ast ;  he  had  her 
burned,  and  was  cured.  I  knew  this.  I  would  try  this 
remedy.  First,  I  had  thee  forbidden  the  Parvis  of  Notre- 
Dame,  hoping  to  forget  thee  if  thou  camest  no  more.  Thou 
didst  not  heed  it.  Thou  camest  again.  Then  I  had  the  idea 
of  carrying  thee  ofT.  One  night  I  attempted  it.  We  were 
two  of  us.  Already  we  had  thee  fast,  when  that  miserable 
ofificer  came  upon  the  scene.  He  delivered  thee,  and  so  began 
thy  misfortunes — and  mine — and  his  own  as  well.  At  length, 
not  knowing  what  to  do  or  what  was  to  become  of  me,  I 
denounced  thee  to  the  Holy  Office. 

P  327  Vol.  4 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

"  I  thought  that  I  should  thus  be  cured  Hke  Bruno  of  Ast. 
I  thought  too,  confusedly,  that  a  prosecution  would  deliver 
thee  into  my  hands,  that  once  in  prison  I  should  hold  thee, 
that  thou  couldst  not  then  escape  me — that  thou  hadst  pos- 
sessed me  long  enough  for  me  to  possess  thee  in  my  turn. 
When  one  sets  out  upon  an  evil  path,  one  should  go  the  whole 
way — 'tis  madness  to  stop  midway  in  the  monstrous !  The 
extremity  of  crime  has  its  delirium  of  joy.  A  priest  and  a 
witch  may  taste  of  all  delights  in  one  another's  arms  on  the 
straw  pallet  of  a  dungeon. 

"  So  I  denounced  thee.  'Twas  then  I  began  to  terrify  thee 
whenever  I  met  thee.  The  plot  which  I  w^as  weaving  against 
thee,  the  storm  which  I  was  brewing  over  thy  head,  burst 
from  me  in  muttered  threats  and  lightning  glances.  And  yet 
I  hesitated.  My  project  had  appalling  aspects  from  which 
I  shrank. 

"  It  may  be  that  I  would  have  renounced  it — that  my 
hideous  thought  would  have  withered  in  my  brain  without 
bearing  fruit.  I  thought  it  would  always  depend  on  myself 
either  to  follow  up  or  set  aside  this  prosecution.  But  every 
evil  thought  is  inexorable  and  will  become  an  act ;  and  there, 
where  I  thought  myself  all-powerful,  Fate  was  more  powerful 
than  I.  Alas !  alas !  'tis  Fate  has  laid  hold  on  thee  and  cast 
thee  in  among  the  dread  wheels  of  the  machinery  I  had  con- 
structed in  secret !     Listen.     I  have  almost  done. 

"  One  day — it  was  again  a  day  of  sunshine — a  man 
passes  me  who  speaks  thy  name  and  laughs  with  the  gleam 
of  lust  in  his  eyes.  Damnation !  I  followed  him.  Thou 
knowest  the  rest " 

He  ceased. 

The  girl  could  find  but  one  word — "  Oh,  my  Phoebus !  " 

"  Not  that  name !  "  exclaimed  the  priest,  grasping  her  arm 
with  violence.  "  Utter  not  that  name !  Oh,  wretched  that 
we  are,  'tis  that  name  has  undone  us !  Nay,  rather  we 
have  all  undone  one  another  through  the  inexplicable  play 
of  Fate !  Thou  art  suffering,  art  thou  not  ?  Thou  art  cold ; 
the  darkness  blinds  thee,  the  dungeon  wraps  thee  round ;  but 
mayhap  thou  hast  still  more  light  shining  within  thee — were 
it  only  thy  childish  love  for  the  fatuous  being  who  was 
trifling  with  thy  heart!  w^hile  I — I  bear  the  dungeon  within 

328 


Lasciate  Ogni  Speranza 

me;  within,  my  heart  is  winter,  ice,  despair — black  nig^ht 
reigns  in  my  soul !  Knowest  thou  all  that  I  have  suffered  ? 
I  was  present  at  the  trial.  I  was  seated  among-  the  members 
of  the  Office.  Yes,  one  of  those  priestly  cowls  hid  the  con- 
tortions of  the  damned.  When  they  led  thee  in,  I  was  there ; 
while  they  questioned  thee,  I  was  there.  Oh,  den  of  wolves! 
It  was  my  own  crime — my  own  gibbet  that  I  saw  slowly  rising 
above  thy  head.  At  each  deposition,  each  proof,  each  plead- 
ing, I  was  present — I  could  count  thy  every  step  along  that 
dolorous  path.  I  was  there,  too,  when  that  wild  beast — oh,  I 
had  not  foreseen  the  torture!  Listen.  I  followed  thee  into 
the  chamber  of  anguish ;  I  saw  thee  disrobed  and  half-naked 
under  the  vile  hands  of  the  torturer;  saw  thy  foot — that  foot 
I  would  have  given  an  empire  to  press  one  kiss  upon  and 
die;  that  foot  which  I  would  have  rejoiced  to  feel  crushing 
my  head — that  foot  I  saw  put  into  the  horrible  boot  that 
turns  the  limbs  of  a  human  being  into  a  gory  pulp.  Oh, 
miserable  that  I  am !  While  I  looked  on  at  this,  I  had  a 
poniard  under  my  gown  with  which  I  lacerated  my  breast. 
At  thy  cry  I  plunged  it  into  my  flesh — a  second  cry  from 
thee  and  it  should  have  pierced  my  heart.  Look — I  believe 
it  still  bleeds." 

He  opened  his  cassock.  His  breast  was  indeed  scored 
as  by  a  tiger's  claws,  and  in  his  side  was  a  large,  badly 
healed  wound. 

The  prisoner  recoiled  in  horror, 

"  Oh,  girl !  "  cried  the  priest,  "  have  pity  on  me !  Thou 
deemest  thyself  miserable — alas !  alas !  thou  knowest  not  what 
misery  is.  Oh,  to  love  a  woman — to  be  a  priest — to  be  hated 
— to  love  her  with  all  the  fury  of  one's  soul,  to  feel  that  for 
the  least  of  her  smiles  one  would  give  one's  blood,  one's  vitals, 
fame,  salvation,  immortality,  and  eternity — this  life  and  the 
life  to  come ;  to  regret  not  being  a  king,  a  genius,  an  emperor, 
an  archangel — God — that  one  might  place  a  greater  slave 
beneath  her  feet ;  to  clasp  her  day  and  night  in  one's  dreams, 
one's  thoughts — and  then  to  see  her  in  love  with  the  trap- 
pings of  a  soldier,  and  have  naught  to  ofifer  her  but  the  un- 
sightly cassock  of  a  priest,  which  she  will  only  regard  with 
fear  and  disgust !  To  be  present  with  one's  jealousy  and  rage 
while  she  lavishes  on  a  miserable,  brainless  swashbuckler  her 

329 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

whole  treasure  of  love  and  beauty!  To  see  the  form  that 
enflames  you,  that  soft  bosom,  that  flesh  panting  and  glowing 
under  the  kisses  of  another !  Dear  heaven — to  adore  her  foot, 
her  arm,  her  shoulder,  to  dream  of  her  blue  veins,  her  sun- 
browned  skin  till  one  writhes  whole  nights  upon  the  stones  of 
one's  cell,  and  to  see  all  those  caresses,  which  one  has  dreamed 
of  lavishing  on  her,  end  in  her  torture !  To  have  succeeded 
only  in  laying  her  on  the  bed  of  leather !  Oh,  these  are  the 
irons  heated  in  the  fires  of  hell !  Oh,  blest  is  he  who  is  sawn 
asunder,  torn  by  four  horses !  Knowest  thou  what  that  tor- 
ture is,  endured  through  long  nights  from  seething  arteries, 
a  breaking  heart,  a  bursting  head — burying  your  teeth  in  your 
own  hands — fell  tormentors  that  unceasingly  turn  you  as  on 
a  burning  gridiron  over  a  thought  of  love,  of  jealousy,  and  of 
despair !  Have  mercy,  girl !  One  moment's  respite  from  my 
torment — a  handful  of  ashes  on  this  white  heat !  Wipe  away, 
I  conjure  thee,  the  drops  of  agony  that  trickle  from  my  brow!' 
Child,  torture  me  with  one  hand,  but  caress  me  with  the 
other !     Have  pity,  girl — have  pity  on  me  !  " 

The  priest  writhed  on  the  wet  floor  and  beat  his  head 
against  the  corner  of  the  stone  steps.  The  girl  listened  to 
him — gazed  at  him. 

When  he  ceased,  exhausted  and  panting,  she  repeated 
under  her  breath  :  "  Oh.  my  Phoebus !  " 

The  priest  dragged  himself  to  her  on  his  knees. 

"  I  beseech  thee."  he  cried,  "  if  thou  hast  any  bowels  of 
compassion,  repulse  me  not !  Oh,  I  love  thee !  I  am  a 
wretch !  When  thou  utterest  that  name,  unhappy  girl,  'tis  as 
if  thou  wert  grinding  every  fibre  of  my  heart  between  thy 
teeth !  Have  pity !  if  thou  comest  from  hell,  I  go  thither 
with  thee.  I  have  done  amply  to  deserve  that.  The  hell 
where  thou  art  shall  be  my  paradise — the  sight  of  thee  is 
more  to  be  desired  than  that  of  God !  Oh,  tell  me,  wilt  thou 
have  none  of  me?  I  would  have  thought  the  very  moun- 
tains had  moved  ere  a  woman  would  have  rejected  such  a 
love!  Oh,  if  thou  wouldst — how  happy  we  could  be!  We 
would  flee — I  could  contrive  thy  escape — we  would  go  some- 
where— we  would  seek  that  spot  on  earth  where  the  sun 
shines  brightest,  the  trees  are  most  luxuriant,  the  sky  the 
bluest.     We  would  love — would   mingle  our  two   souls   to- 

330 


Lasciate  Ogni  Speranza 

gether — would  each  have  an  inextinguishable  thirst  for  the 
other,  which  we  would  quench  at  the  inexhaustible  fountain 
of  our  love  !  " 

She  interrupted  him  with  a  horrible  and  strident  laugh: 
"  Look,  holy  father,  there  is  blood  upon  your  nails !  " 

The  priest  remained  for  some  moments  as  if  petrified,  his 
eyes  fixed  on  his  hand. 

"  Well,  be  it  so,"  he  continued  at  last,  with  strange  calm; 
"  insult  me,  taunt  me,  overwhelm  me  with  scorn,  but  come — 
come  away.  Let  us  hasten.  'Tis  for  to-morrow,  I  tell  thee. 
The  gibbet  of  La  Greve — thou  knowest — it  is  always  in  readi- 
ness. Tis  horrible  ! — to  see  thee  carried  in  that  tumbrel !  Oh, 
have  pity !  I  never  felt  till  now  how  much  I  loved  thee.  Oh, 
follow  me !  Thou  shalt  take  time  to  love  me  after  I  have 
saved  thee.  Thou  shalt  hate  me  as  long  as  thou  wilt — but 
come.  To-morrow — to-morrow — the  gibbet! — thy  execution! 
Oh,  save  thyself !  spare  me  !  " 

He  seized  her  by  the  arm  distractedly  and  sought  to  drag 
her  away. 

She  turned  her  fixed  gaze  upon  him.  "  What  has  become 
of  Phoebus  ?  " 

"  Ah,"  said  the  priest,  letting  go  her  arm,  "  you  have 
no  mercy !  " 

"  What  has  become  of  Phoebus  ?  "  she  repeated  stonily. 

"  Dead !  "  cried  the  priest. 

"  Dead  ?  "  said  she,  still  icy  and  motionless ;  "  then  why 
talk  to  me  of  living  ?  " 

He  was  not  listening  to  her. 

"Ah,  yes,"  he  said,  as  if  speaking  to  himself,  "he  must 
be  dead.  The  knife  went  deep.  I  think  I  reached  his  heart 
with  the  point.  Oh,  my  soul  was  in  that  dagger  to  the 
very  point !  " 

The  girl  threw  herself  upon  him  with  the  fury  of  a  tigress, 
and  thrust  him  towards  the  steps  with  supernatural  strength. 

"'  Begone,  monster !  Begone,  assassin  !  Leave  me  to  die  ! 
IVIay  the  blood  of  both  of  us  be  an  everlasting  stain  upon 
thy  brow!  Be  thine,  priest?  Never!  never!  no  power  shall 
unite  us — not  hell  itself !     Begone,  accursed — never !  " 

The  priest  stumbled  against  the  steps.  He  silently  disen- 
gaged his  feet  from  the  folds  of  his  robe,  took  up  his  lantern, 

331 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

and  began  slowly  to  ascend  the  steps  leading  to  the  door. 
He  opened  the  door  and  went  out. 

Suddenly  she  saw  his  head  reappear.  His  face  wore  a 
frightful  expression,  and  he  cried  with  a  voice  hoarse  with 
rage  and  despair : 

"  I  tell  thee  he  is  dead !  " 

She  fell  on  her  face  to  the  floor.  No  sound  was  now 
audible  in  the  dungeon  but  the  tinkle  of  the  drop  of  wiiter 
which  rufifled  the  surface  of  the  pool  in  the  darkness. 


THE   MOTHER 

I  DOUBT  if  there  be  anything  in  the  world  more  enchanting 
to  a  mother's  heart  than  the  thoughts  awakened  by  the  sight 
of  her  child's  little  shoe — more  especially  when  it  is  the  holi- 
day shoe,  the  Sunday,  the  christening  shoe — the  shoe  em- 
broidered to  the  very  sole,  a  shoe  in  which  the  child  has  not 
yet  taken  a  step.  The  shoe  is  so  tiny,  has  such  a  charm  in 
it,  it  is  so  impossible  for  it  to  walk,  that  it  is  to  the  mother  as 
if  she  saw  her  child.  She  smiles  at  it,  kisses  it,  babbles  to  it ; 
she  asks  herself  if  it  can  be  that  there  is  a  foot  so  small,  and 
should  the  child  be  absent,  the  little  shoe  suffices  to  bring 
back  to  her  vision  the  sweet  and  fragile  creature.  She  imagines 
she  sees  it — she  does  see  it — living,  laughing,  w'ith  its  tender 
hands,  its  little  round  head,  its  dewy  lips,  its  clear  bright  eyes. 
If  it  be  winter,  there  it  is  creeping  about  the  carpet,  labori- 
ously clambering  over  a  stool,  and  the  mother  trembles  lest 
it  come  too  near  the  fire.  If  it  be  summer,  it  creeps  about 
the  garden,  plucks  up  the  grass  between  the  stones,  gazes 
with  the  artless  courage  of  childhood  at  the  great  dogs,  the 
great  horses,  plays  with  the  shell  borders,  with  the  flowers, 
and  makes  the  gardener  scold  when  he  finds  sand  in  the 
flower-beds  and  earth  on  all  the  paths.  The  whole  world 
smiles,  and  shines,  and  plays  round  it  like  itself,  even  to  the 
breeze  and  the  sunbeams  that  wanton  in  its  curls.     The  shoe 

332 


The  Mother 

brings  up  all  this  before  the  mother's  eye,  and  her  heart  melts 
thereat  like  wax  before  the  fire. 

But  if  the  child  be  lost,  these  thousand  images  of  joy,  of 
delight,  of  tenderness  crowded  round  the  little  shoe  become 
so  many  pictures  of  horror.  The  pretty  embroidered  thing 
is  then  an  instrument  of  torture  eternally  racking  the  mother's 
heart.  It  is  still  the  same  string  that  vibrates — the  deepest, 
most  sensitive  of  the  human  heart — but  instead  of  the  caress- 
ing touch  of  an  angel's  hand,  it  is  a  demon's  horrid  clutch 
upon  it. 

One  morning,  as  the  May  sun  rose  into  one  of  those  deep 
blue  skies  against  which  Garofalo  loves  to  set  his  Descents 
from  the  Cross,  the  recluse  of  the  Tour- Roland  heard  a  sound 
of  wheels  and  horses  and  the  clanking  of  iron  in  the  Place 
de  Greve.  But  little  moved  by  it,  she  knotted  her  hair  over 
her  ears  to  deaden  the  sound,  and  resumed  her  contemplation 
of  the  object  she  had  been  adoring  on  her  knees  for  fifteen 
years.  That  little  shoe,  as  we  have  already  said,  was  to  her 
the  universe.  Her  thoughts  were  wrapped  up  in  it,  never  to 
leave  it  till  death.  What  bitter  imprecations  she  had  sent 
up  to  heaven,  what  heart-rending  plaints,  what  prayers  and 
sobs  over  this  charming  rosy  toy,  the  gloomy  cell  of  the  Tour- 
Roland  alone  knew.  Never  was  greater  despair  lavished  upon 
a  thing  so  engaging  and  so  pretty. 

On  this  morning  it  seemed  as  though  her  grief  found 
more  than  usually  violent  expression,  and  her  lamentations 
could  be  heard  in  the  street  as  she  cried  aloud  in  monotonous 
tones  that  wrung  the  heart : 

"  Oh,  my  child !  "  she  moaned,  "  my  child !  my  dear  and 
hapless  babe!  shall  I  never  see  thee  more?  All  hope  is  over! 
It  seems  to  me  always  as  if  it  had  happened  but  yesterday. 
My  God!  my  God!  to  have  taken  her  from  me  so  soon,  it 
had  been  better  never  to  have  given  her  to  me  at  all.  Know- 
est  thou  not  that  our  children  are  flesh  of  our  flesh,  and  that  a 
mother  who  has  lost  her  child  believes  no  longer  in  God? 
Ah,  wretched  that  I  am,  to  have  gone  out  that  day!  Lord! 
Lord !  to  have  taken  her  from  me  so !  Thou  canst  never 
have  looked  upon  us  together — when  I  warmed  her,  all  sweet 
and  rosy,  at  my  fire — when  I  suckled  her — when  I  made  her 
little  feet  creep  up  my  bosom  to  my  lips!     Ah,  hadst  thou 

333 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

seen  that,  Lord,  thou  wouldst  have  had  pity  on  my  joy — 
hadst  not  taken  from  me  the  only  thing  left  for  me  to  love ! 
Was  I  so  degraded  a  creature,  Lord,  that  thou  couldst  not 
look  at  me  before  condemning  me  ?  Woe !  woe  is  me ! — 
there  is  the  shoe — but  the  foot — where  is  it? — where  is  the 
rest — where  is  the  child  ?  My  babe,  my  babe !  what  have 
they  done  with  thee?  Lord,  give  her  back  to  me!  For 
fifteen  years  have  I  worn  away  my  knees  in  prayer  to  thee, 

0  God — is  that  not  enough?  Give  her  back  to  me  for  one 
day,  one  hour,  one  minute — only  one  minute.  Lord,  and  then 
cast  me  into  hell  for  all  eternity !  Ah,  did  I  but  know  where 
to  find  one  corner  of  the  hem  of  thy  garment,  I  would  cling 
to  it  with  both  hands  and  importune  thee  till  thou  wast  forced 
to  give  me  back  my  child !  See  its  pretty  little  shoe — hast 
thou  no  pity  on  it.  Lord  ?  Canst  thou  condemn  a  poor  mother 
to  fifteen  years  of  such  torment?  Holy  Virgin — dear  mother 
in  heaven !  my  Infant  Jesus — they  have  taken  it  from  me — 
they  have  stolen  it,  they  have  devoured  it  on  the  wild  moor — 
have  drunk  its  blood — have  gnawed  its  bones ;  Blessed  Virgin, 
have  pity  on  me !     My  babe — I  want  my  babe !     What  care 

1  that  she  is  in  paradise?  I  will  have  none  of  your  angels — 
I  want  my  child !  I  am  a  lioness,  give  me  my  cub.  Oh,  I 
wall  writhe  on  the  ground — I  will  dash  my  forehead  against 
the  stones — I  will  damn  myself,  and  curse  thee.  Lord,  if  thou 
keepest  my  child  from  me !  Thou  seest  that  my  arms  are 
gnawed  all  over — has  the  good  God  no  pity?  Oh,  give  me 
but  a  little  black  bread  and  salt,  only  let  me  have  my  child 
to  warm  me  like  the  sun !  Alas !  O  Lord  my  God,  I  am  the 
vilest  of  sinners,  but  my  child  made  me  pious — I  was  full  ti 
religion  out  of  love  for  her,  and  I  beheld  thee  through  her 
smiles  as  through  an  opening  in  heaven.  Oh,  let  me  only 
once,  once  more  only,  once  more  draw  this  little  shoe  on  to 
her  sweet  rosy  little  foot,  and  I  will  die.  Holy  Mother,  bless- 
ing thee!  Ah,  fifteen  years — she  will  be  a  woman  grown 
now !  Unhappy  child !  is  it  then  indeed  true  that  I  shall  never 
see  her  more? — not  even  in  heaven,  for  there  I  shall  never 
go.  Oh,  woe  is  me !  to  have  to  say.  There  is  her  shoe,  and 
that  is  all  I  shall  ever  have  of  her !  " 

The  unhappy  creature  threw  herself  upon  the  shoe — ^her 
consolation  and  her  despair  for  so  many  years — and  her  very 

334 


The  Mother 

soul  was  rent  with  sobs  as  on  the  first  day.  For  to  a  mother 
who  has  lost  her  child,  it  is  always  the  first  day — that  grief 
never  grows  old.  The  mourning  garments  may  wear  out 
and  lose  their  sombre  hue,  the  heart  remains  black  as  on  the 
first  day. 

At  that  moment  the  blithe,  fresh  voices  of  children  passing 
the  cell  struck  upon  her  ear.  Whenever  children  met  her 
eye  or  ear,  the  poor  mother  would  cast  herself  into  the  darkest 
corner  of  her  living  sepulchre,  as  if  she  sought  to  bury  her 
head  in  the  stone  wall  that  she  might  not  hear  them.  This 
time,  contrary  to  her  habit,  she  started  up  and  listened  eagerly, 
for  one  of  them  had  said :  "  They  are  going  to  hang  a  gipsy 
woman  to-day." 

With  the  sudden  bound  of  the  spider  which  we  have 
seen  rush  upon  the  fly  at  the  shaking  of  his  web,  she  ran 
to  her  loophole  which  looked  out,  as  the  reader  knows, 
upon  the  Place  de  Greve.  In  effect,  a  ladder  was  placed 
against  the  gibbet,  and  the  hangman's  assistant  was  busy 
adjusting  the  chains  rusted  by  the  rain.  A  few  people  stood 
round. 

The  laughing  group  of  children  was  already  far  ofif.  The 
sachctte  looked  about  for  a  passer-by  of  whom  she  might 
make  inquiries.  Close  to  her  cell  she  caught  sight  of  a  priest 
making  believe  to  study  the  public  breviary,  but  who  was 
much  less  taken  up  with  the  lattice-guarded  volume  than  with 
the  gibbet,  towards  which,  ever  and  anon,  he  cast  a  savage, 
scowling  glance.  She  recognised  him  as  the  reverend  Arch- 
deacon of  Josas,  a  saintly  man. 

"  Father,"  she  asked,  "  who  is  to  be  hanged  there?  " 

The  priest  looked  at  her  without  replying.  She  repeated 
her  question. 

"  I  do  not  know,"  he  answered. 

"  Some  children  passing  said  that  it  was  an  Egyptian 
woman,"  said  the  recluse. 

"  I  think  it  is,"  returned  the  priest.  Paquette  La  Chante- 
fleurie  broke  into  a  hyena  laugh. 

"  Listen,"  said  the  Archdeacon,  "  it  appears  that  you  hate 
the  gipsy  women  exceedingly  ?  " 

"  Hate  them !  "  cried  the  recluse.  "  They  are  ghouls  and 
stealers  of  children !     They  devoured  my  little  girl,  my  babe, 

335 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

my  only  child !  I  have  no  heart  in  my  body — they  have 
eaten  it!  " 

She  was  terrible.     The  priest  regarded  her  coldly, 

"  There  is  one  that  I  hate  above  the  rest,"  she  went  on, 
"  and  that  I  have  cursed — a  young  one — about  the  age  my 
child  would  be  if  this  one's  mother  had  not  devoured  her. 
Each  time  that  this  young  viper  passes  my  cell  my  blood 
boils ! " 

"  Well,  my  sister,  let  your  heart  rejoice,"  said  the  priest, 
stony  as  a  marble  statue  on  a  tomb,  "  for  'tis  that  one  you 
will  see  die." 

His  head  fell  upon  his  breast  and  he  went  slowly  away. 

The  recluse  waved  her  arms  with  joy.  "  I  foretold  it  to 
her  that  she  would  swing  up  there !  Priest,  I  thank  thee !  " 
cried  she,  and  she  began  pacing  backw-ard  and  forward  in 
front  of  her  loophole  with  dishevelled  locks  and  flaming  eyes, 
striking  her  shoulder  against  the  wall  with  the  savage  air  of 
a  caged  wolf  that  has  long  been  hungry  and  feels  that  the 
hour  of  its  repast  draws  near. 


VI 

THREE   VARIOUS    HEARTS    OF   MEN 

Phcebus,  however,  was  not  dead.  Men  of  his  sort  are 
not  so  easily  killed.  When  Maitre  Philippe  Lheulier,  the 
King's  advocate  extraordinary,  had  said  to  poor  Esmeralda: 
"  He  is  dying,''  it  w-as  by  mistake  or  jest.  When  the  Arch- 
deacon said  to  the  condemned  girl,  "  He  is  dead !  "  the  fact 
is  that  he  knew  nothing  about  it;  but  he  believed  it  to  be 
true,  he  counted  upon  it,  and  hoped  it  earnestly.  It  would 
have  been  too  much  to  expect  that  he  should  give  the  woman 
he  loved  good  tidings  of  his  rival.  Any  man  would  have  done 
the  same  in  his  place. 

Not  indeed  that  Phcebus's  wound  had  not  been  serious, 
but  it  had  been  less  so  than  the  Archdeacon  flattered  himself. 
The  leech,  to  whose  house  the  soldiers  of  the  watch  had  con- 

336 


Three  Various  Hearts   of  Men 

veyed  him  in  the  first  instance,  had,  for  a  week,  feared  for 
his  Hfe,  and,  indeed,  had  told  him  so  in  Latin.  But  youth 
and  a  vigorous  constitution  had  triumphed,  and,  as  often  hap- 
pens, notwithstanding  prognostics  and  diagnostics.  Nature 
had  amused  herself  by  saving  the  patient  in  spite  of  the 
physician.  It  was  while  he  was  still  stretched  upon  a  sick- 
bed that  he  underwent  the  first  interrogations  at  the  hands  of 
Philippe  Lheulier  and  the  examiners  of  the  Holy  Office, 
which  had  annoyed  him  greatly.  So,  one  fine  morning,  feel- 
ing himself  recovered,  he  had  left  his  gold  spurs  in  payment 
to  the  man  of  drugs,  and  had  taken  himself  off.  For  the  rest, 
this  had  in  no  way  impeded  the  course  of  justice.  The  law 
of  that  day  had  but  few  scruples  about  the  clearness  and  pre- 
cision of  the  proceedings  against  a  criminal.  Provided  the 
accused  was  finally  hanged,  that  w^as  sufficient.  As  it  was, 
the  judges  had  ample  proof  against  Esmeralda.  They  held 
Phoebus  to  be  dead,  and  that  decided  the  matter. 

As  to  Phoebus,  he  had  fled  to  no  great  distance.  He  had 
simply  rejoined  his  company,  then  on  garrison  duty  at  Queue- 
en-Brie,  in  the  province  of  lie  de  France,  a  few  stages 
from  Paris. 

After  all,  he  had  no  great  desire  to  appear  in  person  at 
the  trial.  He  had  a  vague  impression  that  he  would  cut  a 
somewhat  ridiculous  figure.  Frankly,  he  did  not  quite  know 
what  to  make  of  the  wdiole  affair.  Irreligious,  yet  credulous 
like  every  soldier  who  is  nothing  but  a  soldier,  when  he 
examined  the  particulars  of  that  adventure,  he  was  not  alto- 
gether without  his  suspicions  as  to  the  goat,  as  to  the  curi- 
ous circumstances  of  his  first  meeting  with  Esmeralda,  as 
to  the  means,  no  less  strange,  by  which  she  had  betrayed 
the  secret  of  her  love,  as  to  her  being  a  gipsy,  finally  as 
to  the  spectre-monk.  He  discerned  in  all  these  incidents  far 
more  of  magic  than  of  love — probably  a  witch,  most  likely 
the  devil ;  in  fine,  a  drama,  or  in  the  language  of  the  day,  a 
mystery — and  a  very  disagreeable  one — in  which  he  had  an 
extremely  uncomfortable  part :  that  of  the  person  w'ho  receives 
all  the  kicks  and  none  of  the  applause.  The  captain  was 
greatly  put  out  by  this;  he  felt  that  kind  of  shame  which  La 
Fontaine  so  admirably  defines : 

"  Ashamed  as  a  fox  would  be,  caught  by  a  hen." 

337 


Notre -Dame  de  Paris 

He  hoped,  however,  that  the  affair  would  not  be  noised 
abroad,  and  that,  he  being  absent,  his  name  would  hardly  be 
mentioned  in  connection  with  it ;  or,  at  any  rate,  would  not 
be  heard  beyond  the  court-room  of  the  Tournelle.  And  in 
this  he  judged  aright — there  was  no  Criminal  Gazette  in  those 
days,  and  as  hardly  a  week  passed  without  some  coiner  being 
boiled  alive,  some  witch  hanged,  or  heretic  sent  to  the  stake 
at  one  or  other  of  the  numberless  "  justices  "  of  Paris,  people 
were  so  accustomed  to  see  the  old  feudal  Themis  at  every 
crossway,  her  arms  bare  and  sleeves  rolled  up,  busy  with  her 
pitchforks,  her  gibbets,  and  her  pillories,  that  scarcely  any 
notice  was  taken  of  her.  The  beau  monde  of  that  age  hardly 
knew  the  name  of  the  poor  wretch  passing  at  the  corner  of 
the  street;  at  most,  it  was  the  populace  that  regaled  itself  on 
these  gross  viands.  An  execution  was  one  of  the  ordinary 
incidents  of  the  public  way,  like  the  brasier  of  the  pie-man 
or  the  butcher's  slaughter-house.  The  executioner  was  but 
a  butcher,  only  a  little  more  skilled  than  the  other. 

Phoebus,  therefore,  very  soon  set  his  mind  at  rest  on  the 
subject  of  the  enchantress  Esmeralda,  or  Similar,  as  he  called 
her,  of  the  dagger-thrust  he  had  received  from  the  gipsy  or 
the  spectre-monk  (it  mattered  little  to  him  which),  and  the 
issue  of  the  trial.  But  no  sooner  was  his  heart  vacant  on 
that  score,  than  the  image  of  Fleur-de-Lys  returned  to  it — 
for  the  heart  of  Captain  Phoebus,  like  Nature,  abhorred  a 
vacuum. 

Moreover,  Queue-en-Brie  was  not  a  diverting  place — a 
village  of  farriers  and  herd-girls  with  rough  hands,  a  strag- 
gling row  of  squalid  huts  and  cabins  bordering  the  high-road 
for  half  a  league — in  short,  a  world's  end. 

Fleur-de-Lys  was  his  last  flame  but  one,  a  pretty  girl,  a 
charming  dot;  and  so  one  fine  morning,  being  quite  cured 
of  his  wound,  and  fairly  presuming  that  after  the  interval  of 
two  months  the  business  of  the  gipsy  girl  must  be  over  and 
forgotten,  the  amorous  cavalier  pranced  up  in  high  feather 
to  the  door  of  the  ancestral  mansion  of  the  Gondelauriers. 
He  paid  no  attention  to  a  very  numerous  crowd  collecting 
in  the  Place  du  Parvis  before  the  great  door  of  Notre-Dame. 
Remembering  that  it  was  the  month  of  May,  he  concluded 
that  it  was  some  procession — some  Whitsuntide  or  other  festi- 

338 


Three  Various  Hearts   of  Men 

val — tied  his  steed  up  to  the  ring  at  the  porch,  and  gaily 
ascended  the  stair  to  his  fair  betrothed. 

He  found  her  alone  with  her  mother. 

On  the  heart  of  Fleur-de-Lys  the  scene  of  the  gipsy  with 
her  goat  and  its  accursed  alphabet,  combined  with  her  lover's 
long  absences,  still  weighed  heavily.  Nevertheless,  when  she. 
saw  her  captain  enter,  she  found  him  so  handsome  in  his 
brand-new  doublet  and  shining  baldrick,  and  wearing  so 
impassioned  an  air,  that  she  blushed  with  pleasure.  The 
noble  damsel  herself  was  more  charming  than  ever.  Her 
magnificent  golden  tresses  were  braided  to  perfection,  she  was 
robed  in  that  azure  blue  which  so  well  becomes  a  blonde — a 
piece  of  coquetry  she  had  learned  from  Colombe — and  her 
eyes  were  swimming  in  that  dewy  languor  which  is  still  more 
becoming. 

Phoebus,  who  in  the  matter  of  beauty  had  been  reduced 
to  the  country  wenches  of  Oueue-en-Brie,  was  ravished  by 
Fleur-de-Lys,  which  lent  our  officer  so  pressing  and  gallant 
an  air  that  his  peace  was  made  forthwith.  The  Lady  of 
Gondelaurier  herself,  still  maternally  seated  in  her  great  chair, 
had  not  the  heart  to  scold  him.  As  for  Fleur-de-Lys,  her 
reproaches  died  away  in  tender  cooings. 

The  young  lady  was  seated  near  the  window  still  engaged 
upon  her  grotto  of  Neptune.  The  captain  leaned  over  the 
back  of  her  seat,  while  she  murmured  her  fond  upbraid- 
ings. 

"  What  have  you  been  doing  with  yourself  these  two  long 
months,  unkind  one  ?  " 

"  I  swear,"  answered  Phoebus,  somewhat  embarrassed  by 
this  question,  "  that  you  are  beautiful  enough  to  make  an 
archbishop  dream." 

She  could  not  repress  a  smile. 

"  Go  to — go  to,  sir.  Leave  the  question  of  my  beauty 
and  answer  me.     Fine  beauty,  to  be  svire !  " 

"  Well,  dearest  cousin,  I  was  in  garrison." 

"  And  where,  if  you  please  ?  and  why  did  you  not  come 
and  bid  me  adieu  ?  " 

"  At  Queue-en-Brie." 

Phoebus  was  delighted  that  the  first  question  had  helped 
him  to  elude  the  second. 

339 


Notre-Dame   de   Paris 

"  But  that  is  quite  near,  monsieur ;  how  is  it  you  never 
once  came  to  see  me  ?  " 

This  was  seriously  embarrassing. 

"  Because — well' — the  service — and  besides,  charming 
cousin,  I  have  been  ill." 

"  111  ?  "  she  exclaimed  in  alarm. 

"  Yes — wounded." 

"  Wounded  !  "     The  poor  girl  was  quite  upset. 

"  Oh,  do  not  let  that  frighten  you,"  said  Phoebus  carelessly ; 
"  it  was  nothing.  A  quarrel — a  mere  scratch — what  does  it 
signify  to  you  ?  " 

"  What  does  it  signify  to  me  ?  "  cried  Fleur-de-Lys,  lifting 
her  beautiful  eyes  full  of  tears.  "  Oh,  you  cannot  mean  what 
you  say.     What  was  it  all  about — I  will  know." 

"  Well,  then,  my  fair  one,  I  had  some  words  with  Mahe 
Fedy — you  know — the  lieutenant  of  Saint-Germain-en-Laye, 
and  each  of  us  ripped  up  a  few  inches  of  the  other's  skin — 
that  is  all." 

The  inventive  captain  knew  very  well  that  an  affair  of 
honour  always  sets  o&  a  man  to  advantage  in  a  woman's  eye. 
And  sure  enough,  Fleur-de-Lys  looked  up  into  his  fine  face 
with  mingled  sensations  of  fear,  pleasure,  and  admiration. 
However,  she  did  not  feel  entirely  reassured. 

"  I  only  hope  you  are  completely  cured,  my  Phoebus ! " 
she  said.  "  I  am  not  acquainted  with  your  Mahe  Fedy ;  but 
he  must  be  an  odious  wretch.  And  what  was  this  quarrel 
about?" 

Here  Phoebus,  whose  imagination  was  not  particularly 
creative,  began  to  be  rather  at  a  loss  how  to  beat  a  con- 
venient retreat  out  of  his  encounter. 

"  Oh,  how  should  I  know  ? — a  mere  trifle — a  horse — a 
hasty  word!  Fair  cousin,"  said  he,  by  way  of  changing  the 
conversation,  "  what  is  all  this  going  on  in  the  Parvis  ?  "  He 
went  to  the  window.  "  Look,  fair  cousin,  there  is  a  great 
crowd  in  the  Place." 

"  I  do  not  know,"  answered  Fleur-de-Lys ;  "  it  seems  a 
witch  is  to  do  penance  this  morning  before  the  church  on  her 
vray  to  the  gallows." 

So  entirely  did  the  captain  believe  the  afifair  of  Esmeralda 
to  be  terminated,  that  he  took  little  heed  of  these  words  of 

340 


Three  Various   Hearts  of  Men 

Fleur-de-Lys.  Nevertheless,  he  asked  a  careless  question 
or  two. 

"  Who  is  this  witch  ?  " 

"  I  am  sure  I  do  not  know." 

"  And  what  is  she  said  to  have  done  ?  " 

Again  she  shrugged  her  white  shoulders. 

"  I  do  not  know." 

"  Oh,  by  'r  Lord !  "  exclaimed  the  mother,  "  there  are  so 
many  sorceresses  nowadays  that  they  burn  them,  I  dare  swear, 
without  knowing  their  names.  As  well  might  you  try  to 
know  the  name  of  every  cloud  in  heaven.  But,  after  all,  we 
may  make  ourselves  easy ;  the  good  God  keeps  his  register 
above."  Here  the  venerable  lady  rose  and  approached  the  win- 
dow. "  Lord,"  she  cried,  "  you  are  right,  Phoebus,  there  is  in- 
deed a  great  concourse  of  the  people — some  of  them  even,  God 
save  us,  on  the  very  roofs !  Ah,  Phoebus,  that  brings  back  to 
me  my  young  days  arwd  the  entry  of  Charles  VII,  when  there 
were  just  such  crowds — I  mind  not  precisely  in  what  year. 
When  I  speak  of  that  to  you  it  doubtless  sounds  like  some- 
thing very  old,  but  to  me  it  is  as  fresh  as  to-day.  Oh,  it  was 
a  far  finer  crowd  than  this !  Some  of  them  climbed  up  on  to 
the  battlements  of  the  Porte  Saint-Antoine.  The  King  had  the 
Queen  on  the  crupper  behind  him ;  and  after  their  highnesses 
came  all  the  ladies  mounted  behind  their  lords.  I  remember, 
too,  there  was  much  laughter  because  by  the  side  of  Amanyon 
de  Garlande,  who  was  very  short,  there  came  the  Sire  Mate- 
felon,  a  knight  of  gigantic  stature,  who  had  killed  the  English 
in  heaps.  It  was  very  fine.  Then  followed  a  procession  of 
all  the  nobles  of  France,  with  their  oriflammes  fluttering  red 
before  one.  There  were  some  with  pennons  aiid  some  with 
banners — let  me  think — the  Sire  de  Calan  had  a  pennon, 
Jean  de  Chateaumorant  a  banner,  and  a  richer  than  any  of 
the  others  except  the  Duke  of  Bourbon.  Alas !  'tis  sad  to 
think  that  all  that  has  been,  and  that  nothing  of  it  now  re- 
mains !  " 

The  two  young  people  were  not  listening  to  the  worthy 
dowager.  Phoebus  had  returned  to  lean  over  the  back  of  his 
lady-love's  chair — a  charming  post  which  revealed  to  his  liber- 
tine glance  so  many  exquisite  things,  and  enabled  him  to 
divine  so  many  more  that,  ravished  by  that  satin-shimmering 

341 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

skin,  he  said  to  himself,  "  How  can  one  love  anv  but  a 
blonde?" 

Neither  spoke.  The  girl  lifted  to  him,  from  time  to  time, 
a  glance  full  of  tenderness  and  devotion,  and  their  locks 
mingled  in  a  ray  of  the  vernal  sunshine. 

"  Phoebus,"  said  Fleur-de-Lys  suddenly,  in  a  half-whisper, 
"  we  are  to  marry  in  three  months — swear  to  me  that  you 
have  never  loved  any  woman  but  myself." 

"  I  swear  it,  fairest  angel !  "  returned  Phoebus ;  and  his 
passionate  glance  combined  with  the  sincere  tone  of  his  voice 
to  convince  Fleur-de-Lys  of  the  truth  of  his  assertion.  And, 
who  knows,  perhaps  he  believed  it  himself  at  the  moment. 

Meanwhile  the  good  mother,  rejoiced  to  see  the  two  young 
people  in  such  perfect  accord,  had  left  the  apartment  to  attend 
to  some  domestic  matter.  Phoebus  was  aware  of  the  fact,  and 
this  solitude  a  deux  so  emboldened  the  enterprising  captain 
that  some  strange  ideas  began  to  arise  in  his  mind.  Flem-- 
de-Lys  loved  him — he  was  betrothed  to  her — she  was  alone 
with  him — his  old  inclination  for  her  had  revived — not  per- 
haps in  all  its  primitive  freshness,  but  certainly  in  all  its  ardour 
— after  all,  it  was  no  great  crime  to  cut  a  little  of  one's  own 
corn  in  the  blade.  I  know  not  if  these  thoughts  passed 
distinctly  through  his  mind ;  but  at  any  rate,  Fleur-de-Lys 
suddenly  took  alarm  at  the  expression  of  his  countenance. 
She  looked  about  her  and  discovered  that  her  mother  was 
gone. 

"  Heavens !  "  said  she,  blushing  and  uneasy,  "  I  am  very 
hot." 

"  I  think,  indeed,"  replied  Phoebus,  "  that  it  cannot  be 
far  from  noon.  The  sun  is  oppressive — the  best  remedy 
is  to  draw  the  curtain." 

"  No,  no !  "  cried  the  girl ;  "  on  the  contrary,  it  is  air 
I  need." 

And  like  the  doe  which  scents  the  hounds,  she  started  up, 
ran  to  the  window,  flung  it  wide,  and  took  refuge  on  the 
balcony.     Phoebus,  not  overpleased,  followed  her. 

The  Place  de  Parvis  of  Notre-Dame,  upon  which,  as  the 
reader  is  aware,  the  balcony  looked  down,  presented  at  that 
moment  a  sinister  and  unusual  appearance,  which  forthwith 
changed  the  nature  of  the  timid  damoiselle's  alarm. 

342 


Three  Various  Hearts   of  Men 

An  immense  crowd,  extending  into  all  the  adjacent  streets, 
filled  the  whole  square.  The  breast-high  wall  surrounding  the 
Parvis  itself  would  not  have  sufficed  alone  to  keep  it  clear ;  but 
it  was  lined  by  a  close  hedge  of  sergeants  of  the  town-guard 
and  arquebusiers,  culverin  in  hand.  Thanks  to  this  grove  of 
pikes  and  arquebuses  the  Parvis  was  empty.  The  entrance  to 
it  was  guarded  by  a  body  of  the  bishop's  halberdiers.  The  great 
doors  of  the  church  were  closed,  forming  a  strong  contrast  to 
the  innumerable  windows  round  the  Place,  which,  open  up  to 
the  very  gables,  showed  hundreds  of  heads  piled  one  above 
another  like  the  cannon-balls  in  an  artillery  ground.  The  pre- 
vailing aspect  of  this  multitude  was  gray,  dirty,  repulsive. 
The  spectacle  they  were  awaiting  was  evidently  one  that  has 
the  distinction  of  calling  forth  all  that  is  most  bestial  and 
unclean  in  the  populace — impossible  to  imagine  anything 
more  repulsive  than  the  sounds  which  arose  from  this  seething 
mass  of  yellow  caps  and  frowzy  heads,  and  there  were  fewer 
shouts  than  shrill  bursts  of  laughter — more  women  than  men. 

From  time  to  time  some  strident  voice  pierced  the  gen- 
eral hum. 

"  Hi  there!  Mahiet  Baliffre !  will  they  hang  her  here?" 

"  Simpleton,  this  is  the  penance  in  her  shift — the  Almighty 
is  going  to  cough  a  little  Latin  in  her  face !  That  is  always 
done  here  at  noon.  If  'tis  the  gallows  you  want,  you  must 
■go  to  the  Greve." 

"  I'll  go  there  afterward." 

"  Tell  me,  La  Boucanbry,  is  it  true  that  she  refused  to 
have  a  confessor  ?  " 

"  So  they  say,  La  Bechaigne." 

"Did  you  ever  see  such  a  heathen?" 

•  ••••••• 

"  Sir,  'tis  the  custom  here.  The  justiciary  of  the  Palais 
is  bound  to  deliver  up  the  malefactor,  ready  sentenced  for 
execution — if  a  layman,  to  the  Provost  of  Paris;  if  a  cleric, 
to  the  official  court  of  the  bishopric." 

"  Sir,  I  thank  you." 

"  Oh,  mon  Dieu! "  said  Fleur-de-Lys,  "  the  poor  creature  [ " 

343 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

And  this  thought  tinged  with  sadness  the  look  she  cast  over 
the  crowd.  The  captain,  much  more  interested  in  her  than 
in  this  dirty  rabble,  had  laid  an  amorous  hand  upon  her  waist. 
She  turned  round  with  a  smile  half  of  pleasure,  half  of  entreaty. 

"  Prithee,  Phoebus,  let  be !  If  my  mother  entered  and 
saw  your  hand " 

At  this  moment  the  hour  of  noon  boomed  slowly  from  the 
great  clock  of  Notre-Dame.  A  murmur  of  satisfaction  burst 
from  the  crowd.  The  last  vibration  of  the  twelfth  stroke  had 
hardly  died  away  before  all  the  heads  were  set  in  one  direc- 
tion, like  waves  before  a  sudden  gust  of  wind,  and  a  great 
shout  went  up  from  the  square,  the  windows,  the  roofs : 
"  Here  she  comes  !  " 

Fleur-de-Lys  clasped  her  hands  over  her  eyes  that  she 
might  not  see. 

"  Sweetheart,"  Phoebus  hastened  to  sa}*  "  shall  we  go  in  ?  " 

"  No,"  she  returned,  and  the  eyes  that  she  had  just  closed 
from  fear  she  opened  again  from  curiosity. 

A  tumbrel  drawn  by  a  strong  Normandy  draught-horse, 
and  closely  surrounded  by  horsemen  in  violet  livery  with 
white  crosses,  had  just  entered  the  Place  from  the  Rue  Saint- 
Pierre  aux  BcEufs.  The  sergeants  of  the  watch  opened  a  way 
for  it  through  the  people  by  vigorous  use  of  their  thonged 
scourges.  Beside  the  tumbrel  rode  a  few  ofificers  of  justice 
and  the  police,  distinguishable  by  their  black  garments  and 
their  awkwardness  in  the  saddle.  Maitre  Jacques  Charmolue 
figured  at  their  head. 

In  the  fatal  cart  a  girl  was  seated,  her  hands  tied  behind 
her,  but  no  priest  by  her  side.  She  was  in  her  shift,  and  her 
long  black  hair  (it  was  the  custom  then  not  to  cut  it  till  reach- 
ing the  foot  of  the  gibbet)  fell  unbound  about  her  neck  and 
over  her  half-naked  shoulders. 

Through  these  waving  locks — more  lustrous  than  the 
raven's  wing — you  caught  a  glimpse  of  a  great  rough  brown 
rope,  writhing  and  twisting,  chafing  the  girl's  delicate  shoul- 
der-blades, and  coiled  about  her  fragile  neck  like  an  earth- 
worm round  a  flower.  Below  this  rope  glittered  a  small  amu- 
let adorned  with  green  glass,  which,  doubtless,  she  had  been 
allowed  to  retain,  because  nothing  is  refused  to  those  about 
to   die.     The   spectators   raised   above    her   at   the   windows 

344 


Three  Various  Hearts  of  Men 

could  see  her  bare  legs  as  she  sat  in  the  tumbrel,  and  which 
she  strove  to  conceal  as  if  from  a  last  remaining  instinct  of 
her  sex.  At  her  feet  lay  a  little  goat,  also  strictly  bound. 
The  criminal  was  holding  her  ill-fastened  shift  together  with 
her  teeth.  It  looked  as  though,  despite  her  extreme  misery, 
she  was  still  conscious  of  the  indignity  of  being  thus  exposed 
half-naked  before  all  eyes.  Alas !  it  is  not  for  such  frightful 
trials  as  this  that  feminine  modesty  was  made. 

"  Holy  Saviour !  "  cried  Fleur-de-Lys  excitedly  to  the  cap- 
tain. "  Look,  cousin !  if  it  is  not  your  vile  gipsy  girl  with 
the  goat !  " 

She  turned  round  to  Phoebus.  His  eyes  were  fixed  on 
the  tumbrel.     He  was  very  pale. 

"  What  gipsy  girl  with  a  goat  ?  "  he  faltered. 

"  How,"  returned  Fleur-de-Lys,  "  do  you  not  remember?  " 

Phoebus  did  not  let  her  finish.  "  I  do  not  know  what 
you  mean." 

He  made  one  step  to  re-enter  the  room,  but  Fleur-de-Lys, 
whose  jealousy  lately  so  vehement  was  now  reawakened  by 
the  sight  of  the  detested  gipsy — Fleur-de-Lys  stopped  him 
by  a  glance  full  of  penetration  and  mistrust.  She  recollected 
vaguely  having  heard  something  of  an  oflfiicer  whose  name 
had  been  connected  wnth  the  trial  of  this  sorceress. 

"  What  ails  you  ?  "  said  she  to  Phoebus ;  "  one  would  think 
that  the  sight  of  this  woman  disconcerted  you." 

Phoebus  forced  a  laugh.  "  Me  ?  Not  the  least  in  the 
world  !     Oh,  far  from  it !  " 

"  Then  stay,"  she  returned  imperiously,  "  and  let  us  see 
it  out." 

So  there  was  nothing  for  the  unlucky  captain  but  to 
remain.  However,  it  reassured  him  somewhat  to  see  that 
the  criminal  kept  her  eyes  fixed  on  the  bottom  of  the  tum- 
brel. It  was  but  too  truly  Esmeralda.  In  this  last  stage 
of  ignominy  and  misfortune,  she  was  still  beautiful — her  great 
dark  eyes  looked  larger  from  the  hollowing  of  her  cheeks, 
her  pale  profile  was  pure  and  unearthly.  She  resembled  her 
former  self  as  a  Virgin  of  Masaccio  resembles  one  of  Raphael's 
— frailer,  more  pinched,  more  attenuated. 

For  the  rest,  there  was  nothing  in  her  whole  being  that 
did  not  seem  to  be  shaken  to  its  foundations ;  and,  except  for 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

her  last  poor  attempt  at  modesty,  she  abandoned  herself  com- 
pletely to  chance,  so  thoroughly  had  iier  spirit  been  broken 
by  torture  and  despair.  Her  body  swayed  with  every  jolt  of 
the  tumbrel  like  something  dead  or  disjointed.  Her  gaze 
was  blank  and  distraught,  A  tear  hung  in  her  eye,  but  it 
was  stationary  and  as  if  frozen  there. 

Meanwhile  the  dismal  cavalcade  had  traversed  the  crowd 
amid  yells  of  joy  and  the  struggles  of  the  curious.  Never- 
theless, in  strict  justice  be  it  said,  that  on  seeing  her  so 
beautiful  and  so  crushed  by  affliction,  many,  even  the  most 
hard-hearted,  were  moved  to  pity. 

The  tumbrel  now  entered  the  Parvis  and  stopped  in  front 
of  the  great  door.  The  escort  drew  up  in  line  on  either  side. 
Silence  fell  upon  the  crowd,  and  amid  that  silence,  surcharged 
with  solemnity  and  anxious  anticipation,  the  two  halves  of 
the  great  door  opened  apparently  of  themselves  on  their  creak- 
ing hinges  and  'disclosed  the  shadowy  depths  of  the  sombre 
church  in  its  whole  extent,  hung  with  black,  dimly  lighted 
by  a  few  tapers  glimmering  in  the  far  distance  on  the  high 
altar,  and  looking  like  a  black  and  yawning  cavern  in  the 
midst  of  the  sunlit  Place.  At  the  far  end,  in  the  gloom  of 
the  chancel,  a  gigantic  cross  of  silver  was  dimly  visible  against 
a  black  drapery  that  fell  from  the  roof  to  the  floor.  The  nave 
was  perfectly  empty,  but  the  heads  of  a  few  priests  could  be 
seen  stirring  vaguely  in  the  distant  choir-stalls,  and  as  the 
great  door  opened,  there  rolled  from  the  church  a  solemn, 
far-reaching,  monotonous  chant,  hurling  at  the  devoted  head 
of  the  criminal  fragments  of  the  penitential  psalms : 

"  Non  tinicbo  millia  populi  circumdantis  me.  Ex  surge,  Do- 
mine;  salvum  me  fac.  Dens  I 

"  Salvum  me  fac,  Dens,  quoniam  intraverunt  aquce  usque  ad 
animam  meam. 

"  Iniixus  sum  in  limo  profundi;  et  non  est  substantia." 

At  the  same  time  an  isolated  voice,  not  in  the  choir, 
intoned  from  the  step  of  the  high  altar  this  impressive 
offertory : 

"  Qui  verhum  meum  audit,  ct  credit  ei  qui  misit  me,  habet 
vitam  (cternam  et  in  judicium  non  venit;  sed  transit  a  tnorte 
in  vitam.'' 

This  chant  intoned  by  a  few  old  men  lost  in  the  gloom  of 

346 


Three  Various   Hearts   of  Men 

the  church,  and  directed  at  this  beautiful  creature  full  of  youth 
and  life,  wooed  by  the  balmy  air  of  spring,  and  bathed  in 
sunshine,  was  the  mass  for  the  dead. 

The  multitude  listened  with  pious  attention. 

The  hapless,  terrified  girl  seemed  to  lose  all  sight  and 
consciousness  in  this  view  into  the  dark  bowels  of  the  church. 
Her  white  lips  moved  as  if  she  prayed,  and  when  the  hang- 
man's assistant  advanced  to  help  her  down  from  the  tumbrel, 
he  heard  a  low  murmur  from  her — "  Phoebus !  " 

They  untied  her  hands  and  made  her  descend  from  the 
cart,  accompanied  by  her  goat,  which  they  had  also  unbound, 
and  which  bleated  with  delight  at  finding  itself  free.  She 
was  then  made  to  walk  barefoot  over  the  rough  pavement  to 
the  bottom  of  the  flight  of  steps  leading  up  to  the  door.  The 
rope  she  had  round  her  neck  trailed  after  her  like  a  serpent 
in  pursuit. 

The  chant  ceased  inside  the  church.  A  great  cross  of 
gold  and  a  file  of  wax  tapers  set  themselves  in  motion  in 
the  gloom.  The  halberds  of  the  bishop's  guard  clanked,  and 
a  few  moments  later  a  long  procession  of  priests  in  their 
chasubles  and  deacons  in  their  dalmatics  advancing,  solemnly 
chanting,  towards  the  penitent,  came  into  her  view^  and  that 
of  the  crowd.  But  her  eye  was  arrested  by  the  one  who  led 
the  procession,  immediately  behind  the  cross-bearer. 

"  Oh,"  she  murmured  with  a  shudder,  "  'tis  he  again — 
the  priest !  " 

It  was  the  Archdeacon.  On  his  left  walked  the  sub- 
chanter,  on  his  right  the  precentor,  armed  with  his  wand  of 
office.  He  advanced  with  head  thrown  back,  his  eyes  fixed 
and  wide,  chanting  with  a  loud  voice : 

"  De  ventre  inferi  clamavi,  et  exandisti  vocem  meam. 

"  Et  projecisti  me  in  profundiim  corde  maris,  et  flnmen  cir- 
cnmdedit  me." 

As  he  came  into  the  broad  daylight  under  the  high  Gothic 
doorway,  enveloped  in  a  wide  silver  cope  barred  with  a  black 
cross,  he  was  so  pale,  that  more  than  one  among  the  crowd 
thought  that  it  was  one  of  the  marble  bishops  oflf  some  tomb 
in  the  choir  come  to  receive  on  the  threshold  of  the  grave  her 
who  was  about  to  die. 

No  less  pale  and  marble  than  himself,  she  was  scarcely^ 

347 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

aware  that  they  had  thrust  a  heavy  lighted  taper  of  yellow 
wax  into  her  hand ;  she  did  not  listen  to  the  raucous  voice 
of  the  clerk  as  he  read  out  the  terrible  wording  of  the  penance ; 
when  she  was  bidden  to  answer  Amen,  she  answered  Amen. 

The  first  thing  that  brought  back  to  her  any  life  and 
strength  was  seeing  the  priest  sign  to  his  followers  to  retire, 
and  he  advanced  alone  towards  her.  Then,  indeed,  she  fdt 
the  blood  rush  boiling  to  her  head,  and  a  last  remaining  spark 
of  indignation  flamed  up  in  that  numbed  and  frozen  spirit. 

The  Archdeacon  approached  her  slowly.  Even  in  her  dire 
extremity,  she  saw  his  lustful  eye  wander  in  jealousy  and 
desire  over  her  half-nude  form.  Then  he  said  to  her  in  a 
loud  voice : 

"  Girl,  have  you  asked  pardon  of  God  for  your  sins  and 
offences  ?"  He  bent  over  her  and  whispered  (the  spectators 
supposing  that  he  was  receiving  her  last  confession) :  "  Wilt 
thou  be  mine  ?     I  can  save  thee  yet !  " 

She  regarded  him  steadfastly :  "  Begone,  devil,  or  I  will 
denounce  thee !  " 

A  baleful  smile  curled  his  lips,  "  They  would  not  believe 
thee.  Thou  wouldst  but  be  adding  a  scandal  to  a  crime. 
Answer  quickly  !     Wilt  thou  be  mine  ?  " 

"  What  hast  thou  done  with  my  Phoebus  ?  " 

"  He  is  dead,"  said  the  priest. 

At  that  moment  the  miserable  Archdeacon  raised  his  eyes 
mechanically,  and  there,  at  the  opposite  side  of  the  Place,  on 
the  balcony  of  the  Gondelaurier's  house,  was  the  captain  him- 
self, standing  by  the  side  of  Fleur-de-Lys.  He  staggered, 
passed  his  hand  over  his  eyes,  looked  again,  murmured  a 
curse,  and  every  feature  became  distorted  with  rage. 

"  Then  die  thou  too ! "  he  muttered  between  his  teeth. 
"  No  one  shall  have  thee !  "  Then  lifting  his  hand  over  the 
gipsy  girl,  he  cried  in  a  sepulchral  voice :  "  I  nunc,  anima 
anceps,  et  sit  tibi  Dens  misericors!  " 

This  was  the  awful  formula  with  which  it  was  customary 
to  close  this  lugubrious  ceremonial.  It  was  the  accepted 
signal  from  the  priest  to  the  executioner. 

The  people  fell  upon  their  knees. 

"  Kyrie  eleison!"  said  the  priests  standing  under  the 
arched  doorway. 

348 


Three  Various  Hearts   of  Men 

"  Kyric  elcison!"  repeated  the  multitude  in  that  murmur 
that  runs  over  a  sea  of  heads  hke  the  splashing  of  stormy 
waves. 

"  Amen,"  responded  the  Archdeacon.  And  he  turned  his 
back  upon  the  doomed  girl,  his  head  fell  on  his  breast,  he 
crossed  his  hands,  rejoined  his  train  of  priests,  and  vanished 
a  moment  afterward  with  the  cross,  the  tapers  and  the  copes 
under  the  dim  arches  of  the  cathedral,  and  his  sonorous  voice 
gradually  died  away  in  the  choir  chanting  this  cry  of  human 
despair : 

"  Onines  gurgites  tut  ct  Uncttis  tiii  super  me  transierimt! " 

The  intermittent  clank  of  the  butt-ends  of  the  guards' 
pikes  growang  fainter  by  degrees  in  the  distance,  sounded 
like  the  hammer  of  a  clock  striking  the  last  hour  of  the 
condemned. 

All  this  time  the  doors  of  Notre-Dame  had  remained 
wide  open,  affording  a  view  of  the  interior  of  the  church, 
empty,  desolate,  draped  in  black,  voiceless,  its  lights  extin- 
guished. 

The  condemned  girl  remained  motionless  on  the  spot 
where  they  had  placed  her,  awaiting  what  they  would  do 
with  her.  One  of  the  sergeants  had  to  inform  Maitre  Char- 
molue  that  matters  had  reached  this  point,  as  during  the  fore- 
going scene  he  had  been  wholly  occupied  in  studying  the 
bas-relief  of  the  great  doorway,  which,  according  to  some, 
represents  Abraham's  sacrifice,  and  according  to  others,  the 
great  alchemistic  operation — the  sun  being  figured  by  the 
angel,  the  fire  by  the  fagot,  and  the  operator  by  Abraham. 

They  had  much  ado  to  draw  him  away  from  this  con- 
templation; but  at  last  he  turned  round,  and  at  a  sign  from 
him,  two  men  in  yellow,  the  executioner's  assistants,  ap- 
proached the  gipsy  to  tie  her  hands  again. 

At  the  moment  of  reascending  the  fatal  cart  and  moving 
on  towards  her  final  scene,  the  hapless  girl  was  seized  perhaps 
by  some  last  heart-rending  desire  for  life.  She  raised  her  dry 
and  burning  eyes  to  heaven,  to  the  sun,  to  the  silvery  clouds 
intermingling  with  patches  of  brilliant  blue,  then  she  cast 
them  around  her,  upon  the  ground,  the  people,  the  houses. 
Suddenly,  while  the  man  in  yellow  was  pinioning  her  arms, 
she  uttered  a  piercing  cry — a  cry  of  joy.     On  the  balcony  at 

349 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

the  corner  of  the  Place  she  had  descried  him — her  love — her 
lord — her  life — Phoebus  ! 

The  judge  had  lied,  the  priest  had  lied — it  was  he  indeed, 
she  could  not  doubt  it — he  stood  there  alive  and  handsome,  in 
his  brilliant  uniform,  a  plume  on  his  head,  a  sword  at  his  side. 

"  Phoebus !  "  she  cried,  "  my  Phoebus !  "  and  she  tried  to 
stretch  out  her  arms  to  him,  but  they  were  bound. 

Then  she  saw  that  the  captain  frowned,  that  a  beautiful 
girl  who  was  leaning  upon  his  arm  looked  at  him  with  scornful 
lips  and  angry  eyes ;  whereupon  Phoebus  said  some  words 
which  did  not  reach  her  ear,  and  they  both  hastily  disappeared 
through  the  casement  of  the  balcony,  which  immediately 
closed  behind  them. 

"  Phoebus !  "  she  cried  wildly,  "  can  it  be  that  thou  be- 
lievest  it?" 

A  monstrous  thought  had  just  suggested  itself  to  her — she 
remembered  that  she  had  been  condemned  for  murder  com- 
mitted on  the  person  of  Phoebus  de  Chateaupers. 

She  had  borne  all  till  now,  but  this  last  blow  was  too  heavy. 
She  fell  senseless  to  the  ground. 

"  Come,"  said  Charmolue  impatiently,  "  lift  her  into  the 
cart,  and  let  us  be  done  with  it." 

No  one  had  yet  remarked  in  the  gallery  of  royal  statues 
immediately  over  the  arches  of  the  doorway  a  strange  spec- 
tator, who,  until  then,  had  observed  all  that  passed  with  such 
absolute  immobility,  a  neck  so  intently  stretched,  a  face  so 
distorted,  that,  but  for  his  habiliments — half  red,  half  violet — 
he  might  have  been  taken  for  one  of  the  stone  gargoyles 
through  whose  mouths  the  long  rain-pipes  of  the  Cathedral 
have  emptied  themselves  for  six  hundred  years.  This  spec- 
tator had  lost  no  smallest  detail  of  all  that  had  taken  place 
before  the  entrance  to  Notre-Dame  since  the  hour  of  noon. 
At  the  very  beginning,  no  one  paying  the  least  attention  to 
him,  he  had  firmly  attached  to  one  of  the  small  columns  of 
the  gallery  a  stout  knotted  rope,  the  other  end  of  which 
reached  to  the  ground.  This  done,  he  had  settled  himself  to 
quietly  look  on,  only  whistling  from  time  to  time  as  a  black- 
bird flew  past  him. 

Now,  at  the  moment  when  the  executioner's  assistants 
were  preparing  to  carry  out  Charmolue's  phlegmatic  order, 

350 


Three  Various  Hearts  of  Men 

he  threw  his  leg  over  the  balustrade  of  the  gallery,  seized 
the  rope  with  his  hands,  his  knees  and  his  feet,  and  proceeded 
to  slide  down  the  face  of  the  Cathedral  like  a  drop  of  water 
down  a  window-pane;  ran  at  the  two  men  with  the  speed  of 
a  cat  just  dropped  from  a  house-top,  knocked  the  pair  down 
with  two  terrific  blows  of  his  fist,  picked  up  the  gipsy  in 
one  hand  as  a  child  would  a  doll,  and  with  one  bound  was 
inside  the  church,  holding  the  girl  high  above  his  head  as 
he  shouted  in  a  voice  of  thunder : 

"  Sanctuary !  " 

This  was  all  accomplished  with  such  rapidity,  that  had  it 
been  night  the  whole  scene  might  have  passed  by  the  glare 
of  a  single  flash  of  lightning. 

"  Sanctuary !  Sanctuary !  "  roared  the  crowd,  and  the  clap- 
ping of  ten  thousand  hands  made  Quasimodo's  single  eye 
sparkle  with  joy  and  pride. 

This  shock  brought  the  girl  to  her  senses.  She  opened 
her  eyes,  looked  at  Quasimodo,  then  closed  them  suddenly 
as  if  in  terror  at  the  sight  of  her  deliverer. 

Charmolue  stood  dumfounded,  and  the  executioners  and 
the  whole  escort  with  him ;  for  once  within  the  walls  of  Notre- 
Dame  the  criminal  was  inviolable.  The  Cathedral  was  a  place 
of  sanctuary ;  all  human  justice  was  powerless  beyond  the 
threshold. 

Quasimodo  had  halted  within  the  central  doorway.  His 
broad  feet  seemed  to  rest  as  solidly  on  the  floor  of  the  church 
as  the  heavy  Roman  pillars  themselves.  His  great  shock 
head  was  sunk  between  his  shoulders  like  that  of  a  lion,  which 
likewise  has  a  mane  but  no  neck.  The  trembling  girl  hung 
in  his  horny  hands  like  a  white  drapery ;  but  he  held  her  with 
anxious  care,  as  if  fearful  of  breaking  or  brushing  the  bloom 
ofif  her — as  if  he  felt  that  she  was  something  delicate  and 
exquisite  and  precious,  and  made  for  other  hands  than  his. 
At  moments  he  seemed  hardly  to  dare  to  touch  her,  even 
with  his  breath ;  then  again  he  would  strain  her  tightly  to  his 
bony  breast  as  if  she  were  his  only  possession,  his  treasure — 
as  the  mother  of  this  child  would  have  done.  His  cyclops  eye, 
bent  upon  her,  enveloped  her  in  a  flood  of  tenderness,  of  grief, 
and  pity,  and  then  rose  flashing  with  determined  courage. 
Women  laughed  and  cried,  the  crowd  stamped  with  enthusi- 

Q  351  Vol.4 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

asm,  for  at  this  moment  Quasimodo  had  a  beauty  of  his  own. 
Verily,  this  orphan,  this  foundhng,  this  outcast,  was  wonderful 
to  look  upon  :  he  felt  himself  august  in  his  strength ;  he  looked 
that  society  from  which  he  was  banished,  and  against  whose 
plans  he  had  so  forcefully  intervened,  squarely  in  the  face ; 
he  boldly  defied  that  human  justice  from  which  he  had  just 
snatched  its  prey,  all  these  tigers  now  forced  to  gnash  their 
empty  jaws,  these  myrmidons  of  the  law,  these  judges,  these 
executioners — this  whole  force  of  the  King  which  he,  the 
meanest  of  his  subjects,  had  set  at  naught  by  the  force  of  God. 

Then,  too,  how  affecting  was  this  protection  oflfered  by 
a  creature  so  misshapen  to  one  so  unfortunate — a  girl  con- 
demned to  death,  saved  by  Quasimodo ! — the  extremes  of 
physical  and  social  wretchedness  meeting  and  assisting  one 
another. 

Meanwhile,  after  tasting  his  triumph  for  a  few  brief  mo- 
ments, Quasimodo  suddenly  plunged  with  his  burden  into 
the  church.  The  people,  ever  delighted  at  a  display  of  prow- 
ess, followed  him  with  their  eyes  through  the  dim  nave,  only 
regretting  that  he  had  so  quickly  withdrawn  himself  from 
their  acclamations.  Suddenly  he  reappeared  at  one  end  of 
the  gallery  of  royal  statues,  which  he  traversed,  running  like 
a  madman,  lifting  his  booty  high  in  his  arms  and  shouting 
"  Sanctuary !  "  The  plaudits  of  the  crowd  burst  forth  anew. 
Having  dashed  along  the  gallery,  he  vanished  again  into  the 
interior  of  the  Cathedral,  and  a  moment  afterward  reappeared 
on  the  upper  platform,  still  bearing  the  Egyptian  in  his  arms, 
still  running  madly,  still  shouting  "  Sanctuary !  "  and  the 
multitude  still  applauding.  At  last  he  made  his  third  appear- 
ance on  the  summit  of  the  tower  of  the  great  bell,  from 
whence  he  seemed  to  show  exultingly  to  the  whole  city  the 
woman  he  had  rescued,  and  his  thundering  voice — that  voice 
\vhich  was  heard  so  seldom,  and  never  by  him  at  all,  repeated 
thrice  with  frenzied  vehemence,  even  into  the  very  clouds : 
"  Sanctuary  !  Sanctuary  !  Sanctuary  !  " 

"  Noel !  Noel ! "  roared  the  people  in  return,  till  the  im- 
mense volume  of  acclamation  resounded  upon  the  opposite 
shore  of  the  river  to  the  astonishment  of  the  crowd  assembled 
in  the  Place  de  Greve,  and  among  them  the  recluse,  whose 
hungry  eye  was  still  fixed  upon  the  gibbet. 

352 


J 


BOOK    IX 


DELIRIUM 

Claude  Frollo  was  no  longer  in  Notre-Dame  when  his 
adopted  son  so  abruptly  cut  the  fatal  noose  in  which  the 
unhappy  Archdeacon  had  caught  the  Egyptian  and  himself  at 
the  same  time.  On  entering  the  sacristy,  he  had  torn  off  alb, 
cope,  and  stole,  had  tossed  them  into  the  hands  of  the  amazed 
verger,  escaped  by  the  private  door  of  the  cloister,  ordered 
a  wherryman  of  the  "  Terrain  "  to  put  him  across  to  the  left 
bank  of  the  Seine,  and  had  plunged  into  the  steep  streets  of 
the  University,  knowing  not  whither  he  went,  meeting  at 
every  step  bands  of  men  and  women  pressing  excitedly 
towards  the  Pont  Saint-Michel  in  the  hope  of  "  still  arriving 
in  time  "  to  see  the  witch  hanged — pale,  distraught,  confused, 
more  blinded  and  scared  than  any  bird  of  night  set  free  and 
flying  before  a  troop  of  children  in  broad  daylight.  He  was 
no  longer  conscious  of  where  he  was  going,  what  were  his 
thoughts,  his  imaginations.  He  went  blindly  on,  walking, 
running,  taking  the  streets  at  random,  without  any  definite 
plan,  save  the  one  thought  of  getting  away  from  the  Greve, 
the  horrible  Greve,  which  he  felt  confusedly  to  be  behind 
him. 

In  this  manner  he  proceeded  the  whole  length  of  the  Mon- 
tague Sainte-Genevieve,  and  at  last  left  the  town  by  the  Porte 
Saint- Victor.  He  continued  his  flight  so  long  as  he  could 
see,  on  turning  round,  the  bastioned  walls  of  the  University, 
and  the  sparse  houses  of  the  faubourg;  but  when  at  last  a 
ridge  of  rising  ground  completely  hid  hateful  Paris  from  his 
view — when    he   could   imagine    himself   a   hundred   leagues 

353 


Notre-Dame   de  Paris 

away  from  it,  in  the  country,  in  a  desert — he  stopped  and 
dared  to  draw  a  free  breath. 

Frightful  thoughts  now  crowded  into  his  mind.  He  saw 
clearly  into  his  soul  and  shuddered.  He  thought  of  the 
unfortunate  girl  he  had  ruined  and  who  had  ruined  him. 
He  let  his  haggard  eye  pursue  the  tortuous  paths  along 
which  Fate  had  driven  them  to  their  separate  destinies  up  to 
the  point  of  junction  where  she  had  pitilessly  shattered  them 
one  against  the  other.  He  thought  of  the  folly  of  lifelong 
vows,  of  the  futility  of  chastity,  science,  religion,  and  virtue, 
of  the  impotence  of  God.  He  pursued  these  arguments  with 
wicked  gusto,  and  the  deeper  he  sank  in  the  slough  the 
louder  laughed  the  Satan  within  him.  And  discovering,  as 
he  burrowed  thus  into  his  soul,  how  large  a  portion  Nature 
had  assigned  in  it  to  the  passions,  he  smiled  more  sardonically 
than  before.  He  shook  up  from  the  hidden  depths  of  his 
heart  all  his  hatred,  all  his  wickedness ;  and  he  discovered 
with  the  calm  eye  of  the  physician  examining  a  patient  that 
this  same  hatred  and  wickedness  were  but  the  outcome  of 
perverted  love — that  love,  the  source  of  every  human  virtue, 
turned  to  things  unspeakable  in  the  heart  of  a  priest,  and  that 
a  man  constituted  as  he  was,  by  becoming  a  priest,  made  of 
himself  a  demon — and  he  laughed  horribly.  But  suddenly 
he  grew  pale  again  as  he  contemplated  the  worst  side  of 
his  fatal  passion — of  that  corrosive,  venomous,  malignant, 
implacable  love  which  had  brought  the  one  to  the  gallows 
and  the  other  to  hell — her  to  death,  him  to  damnation. 

And  then  his  laugh  came  again  when  he  remembered  that 
Phoebus  was  living ;  that,  after  all,  the  captain  was  alive  and 
gay  and  happy,  with  a  finer  uniform  than  ever,  and  a  new 
mistress  whom  he  brought  to  see  the  old  one  hanged.  And 
he  jeered  sardonically  at  himself  to  think  that  of  all  the  human 
beings  whose  death  he  had  desired,  the  Egyptian,  the  one 
creature  he  did  not  hate,  was  the  only  one  he  had  succeeded 
in  destroying. 

From  the  captain,  his  thoughts  wandered  to  the  crowd 
of  that  morning,  and  he  was  seized  with  a  fresh  kind  of  jeal- 
ousy. He  reflected  that  the  people,  the  whole  population,  hatl 
beheld  the  woman  he  loved — divested  of  all  but  a  single  gar- 
ment— almost  nude.     He  wrung  his  hands  in  agony  at  the 

_354 


Delirium 

thoug-ht  that  the  woman,  a  mere  g-limpse  of  whose  form  veiled 
in  shadows  and  seen  by  his  eye  alone  would  have  afforded  him 
the  supreme  measure  of  bliss,  had  been  given  thus,  in  broad 
daylight,  at  high  noon,  to  the  gaze  of  a  whole  multitude, 
clad  as  for  a  bridal  night.  He  wept  with  rage  over  all  these 
mysteries  of  love  profaned,  sullied,  stripped,  withered  forever. 
He  wept  with  rage  to  think  how  many  impure  eyes  that  ill- 
fastened  garment  had  satisfied ;  that  this  fair  creature,  this 
virgin  lily,  this  cup  of  pu\'ity  and  all  delights  to  which  he 
would  only  have  set  his  lips  in  fear  and  trembling,  had  been 
converted  into  a  public  trough,  as  it  were,  at  which  the  vilest 
of  the  populace  of  Paris,  the  thieves,  the  beggars,  the  lackeys, 
had  come  to  drink  in  common  of  a  pleasure — shameless, 
obscene,  depraved. 

Again,  when  he  sought  to  picture  to  himself  the  happiness 
that  might  have  been  his  had  she  not  been  a  gipsy  and  he 
a  priest ;  had  Phoebus  not  existed,  and  had  she  but  loved  him ; 
when  he  told  himself  that  a  life  of  serenity  and  love  would 
have  been  possible  to  him  too ;  that  at  that  very  moment  there 
were  happy  couples  to  be  found  here  and  there  on  earth, 
whiling  away  the  hours  in  sweet  communings,  in  orange 
groves,  by  the  brook-side,  under  the  setting  sun  or  a  starry 
night;  and  that  had  God  so  willed  it,  he  might  have  made 
with  her  one  of  those  thrice-blessed  couples,  his  heart  melted 
in  tenderness  and  despair. 

Oh,  it  was  she !  still  and  forever  she ! — that  fixed  idea  that 
haunted  him  incessantly,  that  tortured  him,  gnawed  his  brain, 
wrung  his  very  vitals !  He  regretted  nothing,  he  repented 
of  nothing ;  all  that  he  had  done  he  was  ready  to  do  again ; 
better  a  thousand  times  see  her  in  the  hands  of  the  hangman 
than  the  arms  of  the  soldier;  but  he  suffered,  he  suffered  so 
madly  that  there  were  moments  when  he  tore  his  hair  in 
handfuls  from  his  head  to  see  if  it  had  not  turned  white. 

At  one  moment  it  occurred  to  him  that  this,  perhaps,  was 
the  very  minute  at  which  the  hideous  chain  he  had  seen  in 
the  morning  was  tightening  its  noose  of  iron  round  that 
fragile  and  slender  neck.  Great  drops  of  agony  burst  from 
every  pore  at  the  thought. 

At  another  moment  he  took  a  diabolical  pleasure  in  tor- 
turing himself  by  bringing  before  his  mind's  eye  a  simultane- 

355 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

ous  picture  of  Esmeralda  as  he  had  seen  her  for  the  first 
time — filled  with  life  and  careless  joy,  gaily  attired,  dancing, 
airy,  melodious — and  Esmeralda  at  her  last  hour,  in  her  shift, 
a  rope  about  her  neck,  slowly  ascending  with  her  naked  feet 
the  painful  steps  of  the  gibbet.  He  brought  this  double 
picture  so  vividly  before  him  that  a  terrible  cry  burst  from 
him. 

While  thisjiurricane-oliiesgair  was  upheaving,  shattering, 
tearing,  bending,  uprooting  even-thing  within  his  soul,  he 
gazed  absently  at  the  prospect  around  him.  Some  fowls  were 
busily  pecking  and  scratching  at  his  feet ;  bright-coloured 
beetles  ran  to  and  fro  in  the  sunshine ;  overhead,  groups  of 
dappled  cloud  sailed  in  a  deep-blue  sky ;  on  the  horizon  the 
spire  of  the  Abbey  of  Saint-\"ictor  reared  its  slate  obelisk 
above  the  rising  ground ;  and  the  miller  of  the  Butte-Copeaux 
whistled  as  he  watched  the  busily  turning  sails  of  his  mill. 
All  this  industrious,  orderly,  tranquil  activity,  recurring 
around  him  under  a  thousand  different  aspects,  hurt  him. 
He  turned  to  flee  once  more. 

He  wandered  thus  about  the  country  till  the  evening. 
This  fleeing  from  Nature,  from  life,  from  himself,  from  man- 
kind, from  God,  went  on  through  the  whole  day.  Now  he 
would  throw  himself  face  downward  on  the  ground,  digging 
up  the  young  blades  of  corn  with  his  nails ;  or  he  would  stand 
still  in  the  middle  of  some  deserted  village  street,  his  thoughts 
so  insupportable  that  he  would  seize  his  head  in  both  hands  as 
if  to  tear  it  from  his  shoulders  and  dash  it  on  the  stones. 

Towards  the  hour  of  sunset,  he  took  counsel  with  himself 
and  found  that  he  was  well-nigh  mad.  The  storm  that  had 
raged  in  him  since  the  moment  that  he  lost  both  the  hope 
and  the  desire  to  save  the  gipsy,  had  left  him  without  one 
sane  idea,  one  rational  thought.  His  reason  lay  prostrate  on 
the  verge  of  utter  destruction.  But  two  distinct  images  re- 
mained in  his  mind :  Esmeralda  and  the  gibbet.  The  rest 
was  darkness.  These  two  images  in  conjunction  formed  to 
his  mind  a  ghastly  group,  and  the  more  strenuously  he  fixed 
upon  them  such  power  of  attention  and  thought  as  remained 
to  him,  the  more  he  saw  them  increase  according  to  a  fantastic 
progression — the  one  in  grace,  in  charm,  in  beauty,  in  lustre ; 
the  other  in  horror;  till,  at  last,  Esmeralda  appeared  to  him 

356 


Delirium 

as  a  star,  and  the  gibbet  as  a  huge  fleshless  arm.  Strange  to 
say,  during  all  this  torture  he  never  seriously  thought  of 
death.  Thus  was  the  wretched  man  constituted ;  he  clung  to 
life — may-be,  indeed,  he  saw  hell  in  the  background. 

Meanwhile  night  was  coming  on  apace.  The  living  crea- 
ture still  existing  within  him  began  confusedly  to  think  of 
return.  He  imagined  himself  far  from  Paris,  but  on  looking 
about  him  he  discovered  that  he  had  but  been  travelling  in 
a  circle  round  the  University.  The  spire  of  Saint-Sulpice 
and  the  three  lofty  pinnacles  of  Saint-Germain-des-Pres  broke 
the  sky-line  on  his  right.  He  bent  his  steps  in  that  direction. 
When  he  heard  the  "  Qui  vivc?  "  of  the  Abbot's  guard  round 
the  battlemented  walls  of  Saint-Germain,  he  turned  aside, 
took  a  path  lying  before  him  between  the  abbey  mill  and 
the  lazaretto,  and  found  himself  in  a  few  minutes  on-  the 
edge  of  the  Pre-aux-Clercs — the  Students'  Meadow.  This 
ground  was  notorious  for  the  brawls  and  tumults  which  went 
on  in  it  day  and  night ;  it  was  a  "  hydra  "  to  the  poor  monks 
of  Saint-Germain — Quod  monachis  Sancti  Germani  pratensis 
hydra  fuif,  clcricis  nova  semper  dissidionum  capita  suscitantibus.^ 
The  Archdeacon  feared  meeting  some  one  there,  he  dreaded 
the  sight  of  a  human  face;  he  would  not  enter  the  streets  till 
the  latest  moment  possible.  He  therefore  skirted  the  Pre- 
aux-Clercs,  took  the  solitary  path  that  lay  between  it  and  the 
Dieu-Neuf,  and  at  length  reached  the  water-side.  There  Dom 
Claude  found  a  boatman,  who  for  a  few  deniers  took  him  up 
the  river  as  far  as  the  extreme  point  of  the  island  of  the 
City,  and  landed  him  on  that  deserted  tongue  of  land  on  which 
the  reader  has  already  seen  Gringoire  immersed  in  reverie, 
and  which  extended  beyond  the  royal  gardens  parallel  to  the 
island  of  the  cattle-ferry. 

The  monotonous  rocking  of  the  boat  and  the  ripple  of  the 
water  in  some  degree  soothed  the  unhappy  man.  When  the 
boatman  had  taken  his  departure,  Claude  remained  on  the 
bank  in  a  kind  of  stupor,  looking  straight  before  him  and 
seeing  the  surrounding  objects  only  through  a  distorting  mist 
which  converted  the  whole  scene  into  a  kind  of  phantasma- 


*  Because  to  the  monks  of  Saint-Germain  this  meadow  was  a  hydra 
ever  raising  its  head  anew  in  the  brawls  of  the  clerks. 

357 


Notre-Dame  de  Paris 

goria.  The  exhaustion  of  a  violent  grief  will  often  produce 
this  eflfect  upon  the  mind. 

The  sun  had  set  behind  the  lofty  Tour-de-Nesle.  It  was 
the  hour  of  twilight.  The  sky  w^as  pallid,  the  river  was  white. 
Between  these  two  pale  surfaces,  the  left  bank  of  the  Seine, 
on  which  his  eyes  were  fixed,  reared  its  dark  mass,  and,  dwin- 
dling to  a  point  in  the  perspective,  pierced  the  mists  of  the 
horizon  like  a  black  arrow.  It  was  covered  with  houses,  their 
dim  silhouettes  standing  out  sharply  against  the  pale  back- 
ground of  sky  and  river.  Here  and  there  windows  began  to 
twinkle  like  holes  in  a  brasier.  The  huge  black  obelisk  thus 
isolated  between  the  tv/o  white  expanses  of  sky  and  river — 
particularly  wide  at  this  point — made  a  singular  impression 
on  Dom  Claude,  such  as  a  man  would  experience  lying  on 
his  back  at  the  foot  of  Strassburg  Cathedral  and  gazing  up  at 
the  immense  spire  piercing  the  dim  twilight  of  the  sky  above 
his  head.  Only  here  it  was  Claude  who  stood  erect  and  the 
spire  that  lay  at  his  feet ;  but  as  the  river,  by  reflecting  the 
sky,  deepened  infinitely  the  abyss  beneath  him,  the  vast 
promontory  seemed  springing  as  boldly  into  the  void  as  any 
cathedral  spire.  The  impression  on  him  was  therefore  the 
same,  and  moreover,  in  this  respect,  stronger  and  more  pro- 
fotmd,  in  that  not  only  was  it  the  spire  of  Strassburg  Cathe- 
dral, but  a  spire  two  leagues  high — something  unexampled, 
gigantic,  immeasurable — an  edifice  such  as  mortal  eye  had 
never  yet  beheld — a  Tower  of  Babel.  The  chimneys  of  the 
houses,  the  battlemented  walls,  the  carved  roofs  and  gables, 
the  spire  of  the  Augustines,  the  Tour-de-Nesle,  all  the  pro- 
jections that  broke  the  hne  of  the  colossal  obelisk  heightened 
the  illusion  by  their  bizarre  effect,  presenting  to  the  eye  all 
the  effect  of  a  florid  and  fantastic  sculpture. 

In  this  condition  of  hallucination  Claude  was  persuaded 
that  with  living  eye  he  beheld  the  veritable  steeple  of  hell. 
The  myriad  lights  scattered  over  the  entire  height  of  the 
fearsome  tower  were  to  him  so  many  openings  into  the  in- 
fernal fires — the  voices  and  sounds  which  rose  from  it  the 
shrieks  and  groans  of  the  damned.  Fear  fell  upon  him,  he 
clapped  his  hands  to  his  ears  that  h^  might  hear  no  more, 
turned  his  back  that  he  might  not  see,  and  with  long  strides 
fled  away  from  the  frightful  vision. 

358 


Delirium 

But  the  vision  was  within  him. 

When  he  came  into  the  streets  again,  the  people  passing" 
to  and  fro  in  the  Hght  of  the  shop-fronts  appeared  to  him 
hke  a  moving  company  of  spectres  round  about  him.  There 
were  strange  roarings  in  his  ears — wild  imaginings  disturbed 
his  brain.  He  saw  not  the  houses,  nor  road,  nor  vehicles, 
neither  men  nor  women,  but  a  chaos  of  indeterminate  objects 
merging  into  one  another  at  their  point  of  contact.  At  the 
corner  of  the  Rue  de  la  Barillerie  he  passed  a  chandler's  shop, 
over  the  front  of  which  hung,  according  to  immemorial  cus- 
tom, a  row  of  tin  hoops  garnished  with  wooden  candles,  which 
swayed  in  the  wind  and  clashed  together  like  castanets.  He 
seemed  to  hear  the  skeletons  on  the  gibbets  of  Montfaucon 
rattling  their  bones  together. 

"  Oh,"  he  muttered,  "  the  night  wind  drives  them  one 
against  another,  and  mingles  the  clank  of  their  chains  with 
the  rattle  of  their  bones !    May-be  she  is  there  among  them  !  " 

Confused  and  bewildered,  he  knew  not  where  he  went.  A 
few  steps  farther  on  he  found  himself  on  the  Pont  Saint- 
Michel.  There  was  a  light  in  a  low  window  close  by :  he 
approached  it.  Through  the  cracked  panes  he  saw  into  a 
dirty  room  which  awakened  some  dim  recollection  in  his  mind. 
By  the  feeble  rays  of  a  squalid  lamp  he  discerned  a  young 
man,  with  a  fair  and  joyous  face,  who  with  much  boisterous 
laughter  was  embracing  a  tawdry,  shamelessly  dressed  girl. 
Beside  the  lamp  sat  an  old  woman  spinning  and  singing  in 
a  quavering  voice.  In  the  pauses  of  the  young  man's  laughter 
the  priest  caught  fragments  of  the  old  woman's  song.  It  was 
weird  and  horrible : 

"  Growl,  Greve  !  bark,  Greve  ! 
Spin,  spin,  my  distaff  brave  ! 
Let  the  hangman  have  his  cord 
That  whistles  in  the  prison  yard, 
Growl,  Greve  !  bark,  Greve  ! 

"  Hemp  that  makes  the  pretty  rope, 
Sow  it  widely,  give  it  scope  ; 
Better  hemp  than  wheaten  sheaves; 
Thief  there's  none  that  ever  thieves 
The  pretty  rope,  the  hempen  rope. 

359 


Notre-Dame  de   Paris 

"  Growl,  Greve  !  bark,  Greve  ! 
To  see  the  girl  of  pleasure  brave 
Dangling  on  the  gibbet  high, 
Every  window  is  an  eye. 
Growl,  Gr^ve  !  bark,  Greve  !  " 

And  the  young  man  laughed  and  fondled  the  girl  all  the 
while.  The  old  woman  was  La  Falourdel,  the  girl  was  a  cour- 
tesan of  the  town,  and  the  3'Oung  man  was  his  brother  Jehan. 

He  continued  to  look  on  at  the  scene — as  well  see  this 
as  any  other. 

He  saw  Jehan  go  to  a  window  at  the  back  of  the  room, 
open  it,  glance  across  at  the  quay  where  a  thousand  lighted 
windows  twinkled,  and  then  heard  him  say  as  he  closed 
the  window : 

"  As  I  live,  it  is  night  already !  The  townsfolk  are  lighting 
their  candles,  and  God  Almighty  his  stars." 

Jehan  returned  to  his  light  o'  love,  and  smashing  a  bottle 
that  stood  on  a  table,  he  exclaimed :  "  Empty,  cor-boeuf! — 
and  I've  no  money!  Isabeau,  my  chuck,  I  shall  never  be 
satisfied